Apple Wins Round in Copyright Fight With Samsung

Morning Business Memo:

Apple has won the latest round of its epic legal fight over copyright infringement. In a blow to the South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung, a federal judge has ordered it to stop selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer. This decision comes as the court considers Apple's claim that Samsung illegally copied the design of the iPad. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Apple Inc.'s lawsuit appeared likely to prevail.

"Apple has established a strong case on the merits," she said. Koh had earlier said the two products are "virtually indistinguishable" In the latest strong worded ruling, Koh wrote: "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products." This decision is only a small part of a much larger patent battle between the two tech giants, who are scheduled to go to trial next month in San Jose. Samsung, with its Android-powered products, is one of Apple's chief rivals.

Google this week is set to unveil a new tablet computer. The new device will be co-branded with Taiwan's Asustek Computer. It's expected to be sold direct to consumers through Google's online store, and will run the newest version of Android, called Jelly Bean. It's said to be targeting Amazon's Kindle Fire and may sell for a similar price.

As reported in the Memo yesterday, Stockton California is on the brink of bankruptcy. It's set to become the largest US city to make a bankruptcy declaration. City Manager Bob Deis said officials were unable to reach a deal to restructure hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. Yesterday was the three-month deadline for negotiations. The emergency budget will suspend debt payments, reduce payments for retiree medical benefits and increase revenue through code enforcement and parking citations, among other steps. For now major city services will be maintained. Experts say the bankruptcy filing, while protecting the city from catastrophe in the short run, should not be seen as Stockton's panacea. "Bankruptcy won't take away Stockton's underlying financial problems, one of which is the economy, the high unemployment rate and the high foreclosure rate," said Robert Benedetti, professor of political science at the University of the Pacific in Stockton."It will take years for them to come out of this."

News Corp's board is expected to consider a plan today to split off the newspaper portion of Rupert Murdoch's media empire into a separate operation. The company's entertainment and TV business would form a separate company. Approval of the proposal could come as early as tomorrow. News Corp. stock rose 8.3 percent yesterday on news of the move.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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