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Storm Brews in Battle for 1-900-WEATHER With PM-Selling the Weather, Bjt

June 21, 1993

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) _ Just how big has the weather business become? The battle for rights to a 1-900 number gives an indication.

Accu-Weather Inc. is fighting The Weather Channel and American Express for ownership of ″1-900-WEATHER,″ which Accu-Weather expected to generate nearly $200,000 a year in revenues in one of its bigger contracts.

The 95-cent-a-minute line allows callers to receive forecasts for nearly any locale in the United States and many cities abroad. Boating and skiing forecasts also are available in season.

Accu-Weather and American Express signed a contract to set up such a line in 1989, with American Express paying Accu-Weather $340 a day, not including start-up and transmission costs.

In 1990, the companies expanded the service from 300 to 376 U.S. cities and from 100 to 225 foreign locations. Fees went up to $448.31 a day for the forecasts and $70.11 in transmission costs. In addition, storm reports would be provided for $20 a day and winter highway reports would cost $10 a day.

In 1991, American Express stopped using Accu-Weather and has since signed on with The Weather Channel. Accu-Weather sued American Express in Centre County Court alleging breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The battle has since shifted to U.S. District Court in New York and the U.S. Trademark Office in Washington. The Weather Channel now provides forecasts for the number and has been added to the suit.

Accu-Weather and The Weather Channel said they could not discuss the telephone numbers because of the litigation. American Express officials did not return telephone calls.

Accu-Weather has established its own toll number for weather information, 1-900-329-ACCU. It also costs 95 cents per minute.

6-20-93 2357EDT

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