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Originally published January 2, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 2, 2006 at 6:06 PM

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Technology Briefs

Chinese court sides with coffee giant

A Chinese court has sided with Starbucks in its battle with a Shanghai rival over their use of the same Chinese name, news reports said.

Starbucks

A Chinese court has sided with Starbucks in its battle with a Shanghai rival over their use of the same Chinese name, news reports said.

The dispute highlights China's struggle to mediate trademark fights, a new concept for the communist legal system.

A Shanghai court ordered Shanghai Xingbake Café to stop using the name Xingbake, the name used in Chinese by Starbucks, the Shanghai Daily and China Daily papers said. Xing, pronounced "shing," means star in Chinese; bake, or "bah kuh," sounds like bucks.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court said the Shanghai firm engaged in "illegitimate competition" by using Starbucks' Chinese name and imitating the design of its cafés, the China Daily said. The company was ordered to pay Starbucks $62,000.

The Shanghai coffee house argued that its name was valid because it was registered in 2000, before Starbucks applied for its own Chinese trademark. Starbucks rejected that, saying its name and mermaid trademark were registered in China beginning in 1996.

The Shanghai Daily report Sunday said the Starbucks ruling was the first of its kind under a 2001 Chinese law meant to protect well-known international trademarks.

Computer industry

Data breaches worst ever last year

Data breaches disclosed at Marriott International, Ford, ABN Amro Mortgage Group and Sam's Club last month capped what experts call the worst year ever for known computer-security breaches.

At least 130 reported breaches have exposed more than 55 million Americans to potential ID theft this year.

Security experts warn that wayward personal data, such as Social Security and credit-card numbers, could end up in the hands of criminals and feed a growing problem.

An adviser for the Treasury Department's Office of Technical Assistance estimates cybercrime proceeds in 2004 were $105 billion, greater than those of illegal drug sales.

Yahoo!

Reality-TV show said to be for Web

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Yahoo! will broadcast a reality-television show on the nation's most-visited Web site as it expands into video online, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The company filmed a pilot for "Wow House," a show in which two families renovate their homes with $10,000 in new electronics, the newspaper said.

Analysts say this is a first step for Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel's vision of Web users going to the site to watch TV shows on computers or other devices, the Chronicle reported.

Yahoo! users may be able to stream or download programs from different channels, the newspaper said.

British Airways

Plane-maintenance criticism accepted

British Airways said it accepts a U.K. government report criticizing its aircraft-maintenance practices and has taken steps to change procedures.

British Airways planes have suffered mid-air mishaps, such as a door ripping off a Boeing 777 at 6,000 feet, because of "slipshod" work by maintenance crews, said the London-based Sunday Times, citing the government report.

Ineffective supervision "had allowed working practices to develop that had compromised the level of airworthiness control and had become accepted as 'the norm'," the newspaper said, citing the government investigators.

British Airways has introduced measures to raise awareness of incidents that occur during maintenance and has reviewed procedures to provide clearer instructions, the airline said Sunday.

Wal-Mart Stores

Sales at low end of Dec. forecast

Wal-Mart Stores, which made a big push this holiday season to woo customers with aggressive discounts and marketing, estimated its December sales will meet only the low end of its forecast.

The world's largest retailer said Saturday that sales at stores open for at least a year, known as same-store sales, are expected to be up 2.2 percent in December. The forecast had been for a 2 to 4 percent gain.

Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailers' health.

Wal-Mart, whose gift-card sales beat expectations this season, is counting on a big sales boost in January from card redemptions.

Major retailers are expected to announce their final December results Thursday.

Compiled from USA Today, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News

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