Future Power and Apple settle iMac-related lawsuit

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Remember Future Power? Future Power was one of the first PC clone makers to copy Apple's iMac style with the E-Power. Apple responded by hitting the company with a lawsuit, in which Apple claimed a trade dress violation. Apple said that Future Power's E-Power system too closely mimicked the look and feel of the iMac.

Today Future Power announced the settlement of that suit. As part of the settlement, Future Power agrees that it won't sell its E-Power system through Feb. 1, 2004 -- the original terms of a preliminary injunction first put in place in 1999.

Despite Future Power's claim that users could tell the difference, the E-Power clearly borrowed much from Apple's earlier iMac design styling -- the Windows-based system featured a two-tone color scheme and a single chassis containing a 15-inch display.

Future Power said that as part of the settlement, it will bring to market a newly designed all-in-one box called the AIO. The new system will include a 17-inch display with support for 1280x1024 resolution, a 566MHz Celeron processor, and 128MB RAM.

Despite its Wintel underpinnings, the new AIO still looks disturbingly like an iMac -- proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In fact, Future Power's sales info on its Web site takes an oblique pot-shot at the iMac and Apple.

"With the new trend of all-in-one systems sweeping the world, Future Power's AIO is racing to the front of the pack -- becoming an instant hit for all of those people who have liked the idea of an integrated computer but wanted it to work in a Windows environment," said Future Power.

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