IN BRIEF

Judge rules that IGT didn’t infringe on Aristocrat patents

A federal judge in Northern California has ruled slot machine maker International Game Technology did not infringe on patents owned by Australian slot machine company Aristocrat Technologies.

Aristocrat claimed IGT used two of the Australian company’s U.S. patents to create several multi-level progressive slot machines.

The lawsuit was originally filed in June 2006. U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte entered an order granting IGT’s motion for summary judgment on May 13, the company said in a statement Monday morning.

Aristocrat has accused IGT of infringing on an additional U.S. patent and IGT has opposed that claim.

Major slot machine companies have over the years filed dozens of federal lawsuits against each other claiming various types of patent infringement.

LONDON

British Airways cabin crews begin strike to protest changes

British Airways cabin crews began a five-day strike Monday to protest cost-cutting changes at the loss-making airline, forcing it to scrap almost half its flights out of London’s Heathrow Airport.

Two more walkouts are planned by the Unite union if the long-running dispute is not resolved — which is becoming more likely after weekend talks broke down in acrimony.

BA said it plans to carry 70 percent of booked passengers over the strike period, with flight schedules at Gatwick and London City airports unaffected by the walkout.

The walkout in the increasingly bitter feud follows the failure of weekend talks between the Unite union, which represents about 90 percent of BA’s 12,000 cabin crew staff, and the airline. British Airways said it has accepted an invitation for more negotiations, and says it believes the union will accept.

British Airways officials were unavailable to comment late Monday on whether the strike will affect the carrier’s daily flight from Heathrow to Las Vegas.

SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook plans settings to make controlling privacy easier

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that social networking site Facebook will introduce new settings to make it easier for its users to protect their personal information.

The Times reported that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his site “missed the mark” with features that riled lawmakers, regulators and privacy watchdogs. Details of the new settings were revealed in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

According to the Times, Zuckerberg hasn’t revealed when the new settings would be made available. One setting will make it easy to turn off all third-party services, he wrote.

NEW YORK

IBM to buy Sterling Commerce unit from AT&T for $1.4 billion

IBM Corp. said Monday that it is buying AT&T Inc.’s Sterling Commerce unit, which makes software that helps businesses buy and sell to each other, for $1.4 billion.

The deal would be IBM Corp.’s largest acquisition since it bought business software maker Cognos in 2008.

Sterling runs “collaboration networks” where companies can interact with vendors. It has 18,000 clients worldwide, IBM and AT&T said. Customers include H.J. Heinz Co., Motorola Inc., Boise Cascade LLC and Boston Market Corp. The parties would not provide a figure for the unit’s annual revenue.

WASHINGTON

Genzyme will pay $175 million in return of ‘unlawful profits’

Genzyme Corp. has agreed to pay a $175 million penalty to federal regulators in connection with long-standing manufacturing problems that have already cost the drugmaker millions.

The payment, which Genzyme disclosed last month when it reported its first-quarter performance, is the return of “unlawful profits” from the sale of products made at the plant, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement released Monday.

The FDA also said the company signed a legal agreement to fix problems at its biotech drug plant in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

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