Court to halt iMac clone sales

Apple Computer is gaining ground in its battle to stop copycats from imitating the design of its popular, bubble-shaped iMac PC.

A US federal judge is prepared to issue a preliminary injunction by the end of this week barring Future Power and South Korean firms Daewoo Telecom and its parent company Daewoo Group from manufacturing and selling their E-Power personal computer because of its similarity to the iMac, a court spokeswoman confirmed today.

Apple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in San Jose, California, against both companies in July of this year, alleging their E-Power PCs deliberately copied the iMac design.

The judge indicated Friday he agreed with Apple's complaint. "The court concludes that Apple has shown a probability of success on its argument that the release of the E-Power is likely to cause customer confusion," US District Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote Friday in a response to arguments submitted by both parties.

"There is evidence that the defendants intended to copy iMac's appearance," the judge wrote in his response. "Notwithstanding the subtle differences argued by the defendants, the appearance of the iMac and the E-Power are strikingly similar."

The judge noted Apple has spent $US100 million promoting the iMac in its advertising campaigns.

Apple brought similar lawsuits earlier this year in an effort to protect the iMac design from imitators. In August, the US vendor sued Sotec in Japan. Apple won a preliminary injunction in September in Tokyo District Court preventing Sotec from manufacturing or distributing its eOne computers.

Apple also sued eMachines in the US District Court in San Jose in August on similar grounds.

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