September 20th, 1999

[10:30 AM] Apple Scores First Victory Against iMac Knockoffs
by Bryan Chaffin

In a surprisingly quick action by US standards, Apple has won their first victory in the battle against iMac knockoffs. Apple had filed suit against SOTEC, the Asian maker of the e-one which is marketed in the US by eMachines under the moniker of eOne, in Tokyo seeking to block shipment of the computer. Today, Apple announced that an injunction had been granted by a court in Japan that temporarily halts shipments of the e-one. According to Apple:

Apple® announced that the Tokyo District Court today issued a preliminary injunction barring K. K. Sotec from manufacturing or distributing its eOne computers which copy the design of Apple's award-winning iMac™ computer. The injunction was granted in response to Apple's complaint and petition for preliminary injunction filed August 24, 1999.

The preliminary injunction forbids Sotec from manufacturing, selling, displaying, exporting or importing its eOne product.

Apple has filed similar lawsuits in the United States against Future Power and Daewoo on July 1, 1999, and against eMachines on August 19, 1999.

We have pictures of the eOne, or e-one depending on the market from which you are buying taken in Japan.

For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is a far reaching decision won by Apple in that it effectively short circuits not only SOTEC, but eMachines and Circuit City, the sole American retailer of the eOne, without help from US courts. Observers in Japan have reported to us that Japanese courts have been taking a tough stance on trademark and copyright issues for some time now, and today's decision indicates that Apple made a good call by trying to head SOTEC off at the source.

Please keep in mind that this is a temporary decision as the companies prepare to go to trial. Also, it does nothing to effect supplies of the eOne that have already been shipped to the US. That would take direct action by a US court.

In any event, this is good news for Apple. For that matter, it is good news for any company that has invested effort and resources in designing original concepts. There are some who think that Apple has some nerve in complaining about someone trying to steal their ideas, mainly because of the origination of the GUI at Xerox, but these people fail to take notice of the fact that Apple has effective permission to use those ideas in the first place. In the case of SOTEC and Future Power, the other iMac knockoff company, they did not have permission to bower Apple's look.