Pacific Northwest Microsoft settled a patent dispute with a Michigan company that won a $142 million verdict over a way to block piracy...

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Pacific Northwest

Microsoft

Microsoft settled a patent dispute with a Michigan company that won a $142 million verdict over a way to block piracy.

The settlement terms are “private and confidential,” Microsoft spokeswoman Caroline Sanderson said. The dispute with closely held z4 Technologies was over a patented method of using product-activation codes to prevent the use of software by multiple users.

A U.S. appeals court last year upheld a $115 million jury verdict against Microsoft in April 2006, an amount that was increased to $142 million by the trial judge. Z4 filed a second lawsuit against Microsoft. Both cases were dismissed April 28, according to documents filed in federal court in Tyler, Texas, and Microsoft dropped its Supreme Court petition Thursday.

Z4 lawyer Frank Angileri of Brooks Kushman in Southfield, Mich., declined to comment.

Z4 sued Microsoft and Autodesk, the largest maker of design software used in construction and engineering, in 2004. Autodesk settled the case after the April 2006 verdict.

Labor market

Oregon’s jobless rate little changed

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in April, nearly unchanged from March.

The Oregon Employment Department said in a report Monday that the March rate was revised to 5.6 percent.

In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined 1,600, after a loss of 2,700 jobs in March.

The state’s report finds most of the major industries in Oregon performed in line with their typical seasonal pattern. That’s with the exception of significant job losses in professional and business services as well as leisure and hospitality.

Oregon’s unemployment rate is higher than the national rate, which was 5.0 percent in April and 5.1 percent in March.

Washington state reports its jobless rate today. In March, Washington’s unemployment rate was 4.9.

Nautilus

Shares bulk up fast in 29 percent jump

The stock of Nautilus, the maker of Bowflex and StairMaster exercise machines, rose 29 percent Monday in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) trading, the most since May 1999.

The Vancouver, Wash.-based company’s shares rose $1.48 to $6.65, with 1.6 million shares changing hands. That was nearly four times its recent average daily trading volume.

Nautilus declined to comment to the NYSE about the share-price increase.

Boeing

China to deliver more stabilizers

Boeing said it will buy more horizontal stabilizers for its 737 series from China’s Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory as global demand increases for its most popular jet.

A 13-year accord will be extended for five years, said John Bruns, vice president of Boeing’s commercial-plane division in China. Horizontal stabilizers provide lift and control aircraft during flight.

Shanghai Aircraft has delivered more than 1,200 sets of the stabilizers for the 737, according to Boeing’s Web site. Boeing agreed in 1995 to order 1,000 sets, and the companies expanded the agreement to 1,500 sets the following year, according to Shanghai Aircraft’s Web site.

Nation/ World

Nissan

Electric car slated for U.S. by 2010

Nissan Motor plans to sell an electric car in the U.S and Japan by 2010, raising the stakes in the race to develop environmentally friendly vehicles.

The commitment — expected to be announced today by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn — will be the first by a major automaker to bring a zero-emission vehicle to the U.S. Nissan also expects to sell a lineup of electric vehicles globally by 2012.

Ghosn said Nissan envisioned a broad range of electric vehicles, starting with small cars

Meanwhile, Chrysler will design a compact car to be made by Nissan. Chrysler said it has canceled plans for a new sport-utility vehicle and will use the savings to help pay for the compact.

Clear Channel

Equity firms near purchase deal

After a year of bickering and courtroom battles, Clear Channel Communications finally may be sold.

The two private equity firms seeking to buy Clear Channel, the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, were close to settling with the banks financing the deal on Monday, the company said.

A revised deal would finally draw a close on one of the remaining leveraged buyouts from the private equity boom, which popped last year amid the credit market shake-up.

Representatives for the buyout firms and the banks declined to comment.

Mortgage industry

Dismal earnings for first quarter

Broad damage in the mortgage industry was in full view Monday as a number of companies posted dismal first-quarter earnings, but there was also some hope that the worst of the housing crisis is over.

Investors bid up shares of mortgage lenders and insurers despite billions in losses from a sustained housing downturn in the U.S.

Shares of bond insurer MBIA and mortgage insurers PMI Group and Radian Group all rose Monday, though shares of lender IndyMac Bancorp tumbled nearly 11 percent after warning of a rough year ahead.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, The New York Times and The Associated Press