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Future Power settles iMac suit

The company says it has settled a lawsuit that charged it with selling a look-alike version of Apple's popular, fruit-colored iMac computers.

Future Power on Tuesday said it has settled a lawsuit with Apple Computer, which claimed the company sold a look-alike version of its popular, fruit-colored iMac computers.

Apple, which filed the federal lawsuit against Future Power in July 1999, had contested the company's right to sell an all-in-one system built around a 15-inch monitor available in translucent colors similar to the iMac. The case had been scheduled for trial in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., the company said.

Future Power, based in Santa Clara, Calif., disagreed with a preliminary injunction brought by Apple in November 1999 that prohibited the company from selling its product, and has since been tied in legal battles with the computing giant.

Under terms of the settlement, the preliminary injunction concerning Future Power's 15-inch computer will remain in effect through Feb. 1, 2004, the company said in a statement. Both companies also agreed that Future Power may begin marketing its newly designed 17-inch, all-in-one, Windows-based PC called the AIO. The settlement fully resolves all ongoing litigation with Apple, Future Power said.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., was not immediately available for comment.

Apple has aggressively pursued PC manufacturers selling all-in-one systems that appear to be copycat designs taken from its curvy, colorful iMac. Last March, the company settled lawsuits with Daewoo and Emachines regarding iMac knockoffs. Apple also investigated a possible iMac look-alike from FishPC, an Australian company that advertised on its Web site a translucent PC similar to the iMac.

With the release of its latest PC design, Future Power is betting the market is ready for a stylish, colorful, all-in-one system with a 17-inch monitor. The company's AIO product also is loaded with a Microsoft operating system and an Intel Celeron 566MHz processor, which can be upgraded to support a Pentium III. The computer will come in colored, translucent plastic.