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Originally published Saturday, July 16, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest sues Cendant in patent claim

Seattle-based, the largest Internet retailer, sued Cendant for allegedly infringing four patents covering electronic commerce at its Orbitz, Avis and other Web sites.

Seattle-based, the largest Internet retailer, sued Cendant for allegedly infringing four patents covering electronic commerce at its Orbitz, Avis and other Web sites.

Cendant, the biggest U.S. provider of travel and real-estate services, knew "or should have known" it infringed when using the tools to secure credit-card transactions, handle customer referrals and manage data, according to the lawsuit filed June 22 in federal court in Seattle.

The New York-based company, with $19.7 billion in sales last year, reported a first-quarter loss of $82 million related to spinoffs.

Kelli Segal, a Cendant spokeswoman, wouldn't comment on the suit.


Nation / World

Visa USA

Kroger, retailers

allege price-fixing

Grocery chain operator Kroger and several other large retailers are charging Visa with price-fixing on credit-card transaction fees.

Kroger said yesterday a federal lawsuit alleges Visa USA and Visa International Service Association are colluding with member banks to illegally fix prices on interchange fees. Credit-card issuers such as Visa and MasterCard charge merchants the fees each time a customer pays with a credit card.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Ahold USA, Albertson's, Eckerd, Maxi Drug, Safeway and Walgreen, Kroger said.


$1.2 million to settle

claims in Texas

AT&T will pay $1.2 million to settle claims in Texas that the long-distance telephone company overcharged customers.

AT&T overcharged 75,000 customers a monthly fee of $3.95 per household bill, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said yesterday. The New Jersey-based company refunded or credited $805,393 to customers and agreed to pay the state $390,000, according to a copy of the settlement.

The move by Texas follows penalties in other states, including New York and Georgia, involving similar issues.

AT&T said it's not admitting any violation of Texas law under the agreement.


Hungarian court

sides with U.S. "Bud"

It's a long dispute with no apparent end in sight, and the latest victory goes to Anheuser-Busch.

A Hungarian court has ruled in favor of the St. Louis-based brewer, ordering cancellation for Czech beer-maker Budejovicky Budvar's use of the "Bud," "Budweiser Budvar" and "Budweiser Bier-Budvar" labels in Hungary.

The court concluded the term "Bud" was not a reference to the city — Ceske Budejovice — where Budejovicky Budvar is based, Anheuser-Busch said yesterday, and therefore the Czech brewer could not claim it as a so-called appellation of origin. Such a claim would have entitled the company to use the name.

The two breweries have been battling over Budweiser and other trade names since 1906, and are still involved in about 40 lawsuits worldwide. Anheuser-Busch claims it was using the Budweiser name in 1876 — 19 years before Budejovicky Budvar came into existence.

Compiled from The Seattle Times,

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News

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