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Settlement Reached in Internet Logo Fight with CompuServe


Log On America, a small Internet service provider, has won the right to use a corporate logo that on-line giant CompuServe claimed was a copy of its own.

A lawsuit and countersuit were settled Tuesday, but both companies said the terms were confidential.

``Each party remains free to use its respective mark,'' said David Paolo, president of Log On America, based in Providence.

The dispute began in May when CompuServe, based in Columbus, Ohio, accused Log On America in a letter of trademark infringement. CompuServe threatened legal action unless Log On America stopped using the logo.

Log On America sued in U.S. District Court, seeking approval to keep the logo.

CompuServe countersued, saying Log On America's logo was ``so similar to the CompuServe mark as to be likely to cause confusion.'' It asked for unspecified damages and for the destruction of all materials bearing the symbol.

The CompuServe logo shows a computer keyboard and screen, the left half of which is covered by a globe. The Log On America logo is a blue-and-white rendering of a computer screen and keyboard, with a globe superimposed on the upper right corner of the screen.

Log On America, which charges a fee to link homes and businesses to the Internet, uses the logo on its World Wide Web site, stationery and brochures.

Paolo has described the style of his logo, created in 1994 by a California artist, as ``modern, art deco'' and said it was not similar enough to CompuServe's symbol to confuse customers.

Nearly 5 million computer users, about 6,000 in Rhode Island, subscribe to CompuServe, which began as an on-line network. The company began offering Internet access last year.

Log On America has offered Internet links for homes and businesses since September 1994. The company has about 15 employees and services corporate and large private accounts such as Roger Williams University, Providence College and the headquarters of Subway sandwich shops.


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