September 22nd, 1999

[4:45 PM] Apple Scores Another Victory, SOTEC Will Release "New Design"

Hot on the heals of Apple's preliminary court ruling imposing an injunction on SOTEC that prevents the company from selling, shipping, or importing the eOne, SOTEC handed Apple another victory, at least on paper. SOTEC announced that they would be releasing a new version of the eOne that was Designed Different. According to a report:

Sotec Co. said it plans to begin sales next month of a remodeled version of its iMac look-alike personal computer to get around a Tokyo court injunction.

The new machine's features will be distinct, "not to be confused with the iMac," said Masayasu Ozeki, director of SOTEC's planning department.

The eOne went on sale in Japan on July 21 and undercut the price of Apple's iMac by 19 percent. The Tokyo District Court on Monday imposed a preliminary injunction on production and sales of the eOne as it considers the suit.

Shares of companies related to Sotec plunged following the injunction.

Sotec developed the computer the with two Korean manufacturers also named in suits filed by Apple in its drive to protect the rights to the distinctive features of the iMac.

The company has not yet released images of the new design.

The Mac Observer Spin: This development shows that SOTEC more than likely feels they will lose the case, and rightly so. While the preliminary injunction is not a final decision, it does show that the court considers the case to have merit. Interestingly enough, this statement lends credence to the idea that SOTEC may agree with the concept that the eOne resembles the iMac. This could be an aspect of the English translation and perhaps should not be taken literally, but by saying that they would release a new design that does not resemble an iMac seems to indicate that the current design does. It would be interesting to see if this statement ended up playing a part in the case. Please keep in mind that no one on The Mac Observer staff is a practicing attorney in Japan and our thoughts are pure speculation and contemplation.

So while this announcement does not prove that the company will in fact deliver a new computer that does not resemble the iMac, it does award another moral victory for Apple.