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Digital Loses Mimicry Suit Against CIE : Equipment Held Not a Source of Confusion

October 02, 1985|ROBERT HANLEY | Times Staff Writer

A U.S. District Court judge Tuesday denied a request by Digital Equipment Corp. to force C. Itoh Electronics Inc. and its Irvine-based subsidiary, CIE Terminals, to stop making equipment that allegedly looks too much like products made by Digital.

The suit, filed last December in federal court in New Jersey contended that CIE's CIT-220-plus terminal mimicked the screen formats, keyboard layout and shape of Digital's VT220 video-display terminal.

However, in his denial of a request for an injunction against CIE, Judge Frederick B. Lacey ruled that Digital "failed to show a likelihood of confusion between" the two companies' products.

'Out of Business'

Ken Benbassat, C. Itoh's vice president and corporate counsel, said that the "nature of the request made by Digital was such that had the injunction been granted we'd be out of business on that particular product."

Officials at Maynard, Mass.-based Digital could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In an unrelated development, Emulex Corp., a Costa Mesa manufacturer of computer peripherals, said Tuesday that it has filed suit against Digital in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, charging the computer maker with violating federal antitrust laws.

The suit, filed last week, is another round in a feud between the two companies that in July resulted in Digital's filing suit in federal court alleging patent infringement and unfair trade practices by Emulex.

Mike Lewis, Emulex's chief financial officer, said the company is seeking treble damages, but exact amounts cannot be determined until his company learns what Digital's sales were for certain products using the alleged unfair sales practices.

Two Suits Led to Action

Lewis said that the two suits filed against Emulex were factors behind the company's decision to take action against Digital.

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