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BRIEFS Hewlett-Packard sues Gateway

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hewlett-Packard Co. filed a patent infringement lawsuit Thursday against Gateway Inc., alleging its rival refused to pay licensing fees on six HP patented designs.

According to HP attorneys who filed in San Diego federal court, Poway, Calif.-based Gateway paid licensing fees from 1994 to 1999 to Compaq Computer Corp., which HP acquired in 2001. After the first licensing agreement expired in 1999, HP attorneys say, Gateway kept using patented designs but did not pay for them.

Some of the patent infringement claims in HP's lawsuit involve eMachines Inc., which Gateway acquired March 11. HP says eMachines failed to pay Compaq, and then HP, for use of its intellectual property starting in the late 1990s.

28 companies to offer discount drug cards

WASHINGTON -- Prescription drug discount cards offered by 28 companies have won the seal of approval from Medicare, the government said Thursday.

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Those using the cards can expect drug discounts between 10 percent and 25 percent, said Tommy Thompson, the health and human services secretary. The cards offer help paying for medication while the government readies a Medicare prescription drug benefit, which is scheduled to start in 2006. He predicted competition among companies offering cards, combined with the public display of their drug prices, will make drugs cheaper for everyone.

Shareholders want options expensed

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- PeopleSoft Inc.'s shareholders joined the crusade to expense stock options Thursday, approving a recommendation urging the business software maker to acknowledge the true costs of the popular employee incentives.

The passage of the option expensing proposal marked the only rebuke of PeopleSoft management during an annual shareholders meeting that was held two months earlier than usual because of a hostile $9.4 billion bid by rival Oracle Corp. Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft has repeatedly spurned Oracle's advances since the takeover saga began nearly 10 months ago.

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