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COPYRIGHTS Database operators and writers settle for $18M New York (AP)-A group of companies that operate electronic databases have agreed to pay freelance writers up to $18 million to settle copyright infringement claims brought under a class action. The settlement covers claims brought against the companies by three groups representing freelance writers: the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. The plaintiffs claimed that the database operators, including ProQuest Co., Reed Elsevier Group’s LexisNexis database, as well as The New York Times Co. and Dow Jones & Co., used articles from freelance writers in databases without the authors’ permission. MEDICARE FRAUD Whistleblower doctor will receive $56 million St. Louis (AP)-A Missouri physician who exposed fraud at a major health care company will get $56 million as his share of the government’s settlement. Dr. Steven Bander, a St. Louis kidney specialist, will receive the money for revealing Medicare fraud at Gambro Healthcare USA, which operates kidney dialysis clinics nationwide. Bander was Gambro’s chief medical officer from 1995 to 2000. He filed a lawsuit in 2001, prompting the U.S. Department of Justice to launch its own investigation into his claims. In December 2004, Gambro agreed to pay $350.5 million to resolve claims that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid over two decades. Under federal law, a person who brings fraud claims that lead to a return of funds to the government is entitled to a share of those funds. Gambro, based in Nashville, Tenn., and Denver, has 550 clinics in 33 states. NEGLIGENCE Federal-Mogul, asbestos group settle for $29M Washington (AP)-Federal-Mogul Corp. has said that it will pay $29 million to resolve more than $183 million in asbestos injury claims. The auto parts company has asked the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., to approve a settlement of litigation between the company and the Center for Claims Resolution, an entity set up by a consortium of companies to administer and resolve asbestos claims against them. Following a Federal-Mogul subsidiary’s pullout from the claims center in 2000 and 2001, various lawsuits were filed among the claims center, the company, asbestos claimants and the insurers who issued $250 million in bonds to cover the settlement contributions of Federal-Mogul and its affiliates. Federal-Mogul agreed to end the litigation and settle all claims in exchange for the $29 million payment to the claims center. PATENTS Sony must pay $91M in PlayStation case San Jose, Calif. (AP)-Sony Corp. has been ordered to pay $90.7 million and halt U.S. sales of PlayStation consoles for infringing on the patents of a company that develops and licenses touch-feedback technology to enhance videogame realism. The Northern District of California judge granted a stay on the sales ban, however, pending Sony’s expected appeal. San Jose-based Immersion Corp. sued Sony in 2002, claiming that Sony’s PlayStation products infringed on patents related to “vibro-tactile” technologies that simulate the sense of touch in videogame play. The suit specifically names the PlayStation consoles, Dual Shock controllers and 47 games. TORTS Rap mogul and attorneys ordered to pay $107M Los Angeles (AP)-A judge has ordered Marion “Suge” Knight to pay $107 million to a woman who claims that she helped the rap mogul start Death Row Records, ruling that Knight and his lawyers had failed to answer questions and provide information in the case. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian has ordered Knight and his companies, including Tha Row Inc., to pay Lydia Harris. The judgment includes $60 million in punitive damages, $45 million in economic damages and $2 million in noneconomic damages. The judge issued the judgment after finding that Knight and his lawyers had violated court rules requiring them to answer questions and provide information to Harris and her lawyers. TRADE SECRETS Toshiba and subsidiary must pay Lexar $465M San Jose, Calif. (AP)-Electronics maker Toshiba Corp. and a subsidiary have been ordered to pay Lexar Media Inc. $84 million in punitive damages for sharing trade secrets with a rival maker of flash memory chips used in digital cameras, music players and other devices. The decision came a day after the same Santa Clara County Superior Court jury had awarded Lexar $381.4 million for theft of trade secrets and violation of its fiduciary duty. The total award now stands at $465.4 million. In the lawsuit first filed in 2002, Lexar claimed that its secrets were misappropriated when then-partner Toshiba entered into a deal with SanDisk Corp., another memory chip maker and Lexar’s biggest competitor. At the time, Toshiba had a representative on Lexar’s board.

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