Apple Sues Over iMac Look-Alike

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PC maker Future Power found out last week that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery when Apple filed suit against the entry-level PC vendor over its iMac-like E-Power PC.

The complaint was filed in U.S. Federal Court in the Northern District of California in San Jose to stop Future Power and its financial backer Daewoo from marketing the E-Power. Apple will also seek punitive damages from Future Power.

In a written release, Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs said, "There is a universe of original designs that Future Power and Daewoo could have created for their computers, but instead they chose to copy Apple's designs."

No action has been taken on the complaint, and the first hearing is scheduled for November 9, according to the court clerk's office. Apple officials would not comment further on the case, and Future Power did not return phone calls.

The E-Power is strikingly similar to the extremely popular iMac in both color and form factor. Both are all-in-one computers contained in a well-curved translucent plastic case. While the iMac comes in tangerine, lime, strawberry, blueberry and grape, the E-Power sports its own rainbow of colors: amethyst, emerald, ruby, sapphire and topaz.

There are hardware differences between the two computers. The iMac uses the Macintosh operating system, a G3 processor, and has no internal floppy diskette drive. E-Power uses Windows, an Intel Celeron processor, and has a floppy drive. But the most pronounced difference is price. The E-Power is expected to retail for $799 when it ships later this summer, and the least expensive iMac now sells for $1,199.


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