Business Briefing

19 named in Bluetooth patent suit

Wi-Lan Inc., the Canadian owner of patents for wireless technology, sued Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. and 18 other mobile phone and computer makers, claiming they’re infringing its Bluetooth patents.

The suit, filed in federal court in Marshall, Texas, seeks unspecified damages for the alleged infringement and an order to stop the companies from using the technology.

Bluetooth is used to wirelessly transmit data and voice between devices such as computers and phones.

Other defendants include Apple Inc., Dell Inc., Intel Corp., LG Electronics Inc., Motorola Inc. and Sony Corp.


Claims rise for jobless benefits

The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits increased by 18,000 last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce as the economy recovers.

The Labor Department said initial claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 460,000 in the week ended April 3.

Economists closely watch unemployment insurance filings, which are seen as a gauge of layoffs and a measure of companies’ willingness to hire new workers.


Fuel-cell pilot programs OKd

PG&E Corp. and Edison International won California regulatory approval to install fuel-cell generators at state universities.

The state Public Utilities Commission voted 4 to 1 to allow Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison to start a pilot program.

The decision will help the development of fuel-cell generators, which produce electricity through an electrochemical process that emits lower amounts of pollutants than conventional power plants, the commission said.

At San Francisco State, Pacific Gas will install and operate a 200-kilowatt solid oxide fuel cell. The utility will install molten carbonate fuel cells with a capacity of three megawatts at two Cal State campuses.

Southern California Edison will own and operate three fuel cells with a capacity of 3 megawatts at an estimated cost of $41 million.


Forrester expects spending growth

Forrester Research expects information technology spending in the U.S. to grow by 8.4% this year, to $550 billion.

The better outlook is helped by higher spending on communications equipment, accompanying the ongoing rebound in computer and software purchases.

The worldwide tech market, meanwhile, will grow by 7.7% to nearly $1.6 trillion. Technology spending looks to have hit bottom in the third quarter of 2009, the firm said.

Spending on computer equipment and software will be strong this year, with double-digit percentage growth for both, Forrester predicts.

-- times wire reports