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A summary of Southern California-related business litigation developments during the past week.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Electric Tool Slander Suit: Jepson Inc., a Torrance firm that sells electric tools made in Taiwan, filed a $10-million slander suit against New York-based Makita U.S.A. Inc., which sells similar tools from Japan. The federal suit in Los Angeles asserts that Makita launched a “campaign to harass the customers of Jepson” in 1986 by telling them that Jepson products infringed on Makita’s trademark and that authorities would soon prevent their sales. Makita also advertised that consumers should “beware of imitation” tools and “poor-quality look-alikes"--warnings that Jepson contends hurt its sales. Makita in 1988 complained to the International Trade Commission that Jepson and 30 other firms infringed on its trademark, the suit said, but the ITC last year exonerated Jepson and all but one of the others. (Filed Aug. 13, 1990. Case No. 90-4312.)


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