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Ruling Against Weather Company On USA Today Weather Page

December 3, 1985

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled against a weather forecasting company that sought to prevent USA Today from using certain graphics and formats on its colorful national weather page.

U.S. District Judge Sylvia Rambo ruled that Accu-Weather Inc., based in State College, has no ownership rights to certain headings and the format of the nationwide newspaper’s weather page, which the company claimed it had developed and owned.

Accu-Weather also had sought compensation for the use of the formats if USA Today continued to use them after its contract expired in August 1984, said Barry L. Myers, general counsel for Accu-Weather.

The judge’s Nov. 20 ruling said Accu-Weather’s contract with USA Today regulated the use of Accu-Weather trade names, radar services and logos, but not the format of the page.

Myers said the lawsuit was essentially to determine which parts of the weather page belonged to the newspaper and which to the weather company.

He said the decision was limited to the specific terms of the USA Today contract and did not affect any of the company’s other subscribers. He said no decision had been made on whether to appeal.

″The plaintiff has no property interest in the USA Today weather page, that’s what it all boils down to,″ said John B. McCrory, attorney for Gannett Co., which publishes the newspaper.

Gannett Satellite Information Network Inc. contracted with Accu-Weather on Sept. 16, 1982, for weather-forecasting services.

In a remaining issue, the judge set jury selection to begin May 5 on Accu- Weather’s claim that USA Today violated its contract by allegedly using weather data from other forecasting services during the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

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