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Digest

Southwest airlines bumps up its fares

By TIMES WIRES
Published November 25, 2006


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Southwest Airlines Co., a discount leader and No. 1 carrier at Tampa International Airport, boosted the price of one-way tickets by as much as $10 to blunt higher fuel costs. The fare increase is $3 on one-way trips of 750 to 1,000 miles and $10 on longer flights, airline spokeswoman Paula Berg said Friday. UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp. and US Airways Group Inc. matched the fares.

Sales news murky, except for Chrysler

Auto industry analysts are divided on how November's sales are shaping up, but they agree on one thing: The month is likely to be lousy for Chrysler. Jesse Toprak, chief economist for Edmunds.com, a research site for carbuyers, estimates that based on preliminary data from dealers, industrywide sales will be 6 percent higher compared with November 2005, with all of the top six manufacturers reporting gains except for DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group.

Sony will fix flaw in digital cameras

Sony said Friday it found a defect in some of its popular Cyber-shot compact digital cameras and offered to repair affected cameras free of charge. The liquid crystal display screens of eight camera models might not display images correctly, images could be distorted or cameras might not take photos at all, Sony Corp. said. Affected are eight Cyber-shot models sold between September 2003 and January 2005. Sony will repair for free only cameras that show signs of the problems, Kitsukawa said. He refused to say how many cameras might be affected.

Carlyle negotiating for chip company

Private-equity firm Carlyle Group said Friday that it is in talks to acquire Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc., which tests and assembles computer chips, for $5.46-billion. Carlyle said it is leading a group of investors that wants to make an all-cash acquisition of Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor for $5.94 per American depositary receipt. The offer represents a 13 percent premium over the Wednesday closing price of Advanced Semiconductor's shares.

High court to judge chaotic patent law

Some of the largest companies in the United States are facing off in a Supreme Court case over gas pedals, with one side hoping the justices will put the brakes on an out-of-control patent system. The court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on what's obvious when older inventions are combined to create something new. The law says an invention that's "obvious" isn't patentable, but the definition isn't clear despite decades of litigation. The ambiguity, critics say, has led to an explosion of patents as companies stake claims on everything in sight, from strategies for avoiding taxes to golf ball designs. The result has been extensive and costly legal wrangling as companies of all sizes fight over who's infringing on what. In some cases, small companies acquire patents not to develop new products but to sue for a quick windfall.

[Last modified November 27, 2006, 10:03:54]


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