Etc...

This makes us look bad, huh?

Remember the item in this space last week about Micro-soft siccing its attorneys on a Victoria, British Columbia, high school student for alleged copyright infringement? (He'd registered the Internet domain name mikerowesoft.com for his small website design business.)

Well, the story has taken a new turn: On further reflection, the software giant has concluded that its reaction may have been too - shall we say - hard-nosed. There's no word of a resolution just yet - the teenager is asking for $10,000 to reregister his site - but a company spokesman now says: "We appreciate that Mike Rowe is a young entrepreneur who came up with a creative domain name. So we're in the process of resolving this matter in a way that will be fair to him and [also] satisfy our obligations under trademark law." "We take our trademark seriously," the spokesman went on, "but in this case, maybe a little too seriously."

IBM is No. 1, but Japanese firms Pack U.S. patent race

IBM Corp. is the world's leading computer hardware provider and the No. 2 software supplier, after Microsoft. In one sign of how it has kept that edge, Big Blue also topped a list - for an 11th straight year - of companies awarded the most US patents. Five Japanese firms also ranked among the main recipients, according to the list compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services. The top 10, where they're based, and their respective 2003 patent tallies:

1. IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y. 3,439
2. Canon Inc., Tokyo 1,997
3. Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo 1,906
4. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Osaka, Japan 1,821
5. Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. 1,763
6. Micron Technology Inc., Boise, Idaho 1,708
7. Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif. 1,595
8. Koninklijke Philips Electronics, Amsterdam 1,355
9. Sony Corp., Tokyo 1,354
10. Fujitsu Ltd., Tokyo 1,338 - PR Newswire

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