Business briefly: Microsoft to pay millions in patent case

Microsoft Corp. must pay more than $140 million for infringing on software patents owned by a Michigan-based technology company, a federal appeals court has ruled. Z4 Technologies Inc. sued Microsoft and Autodesk Inc., maker of drafting software, in 2004, claiming the technology they used to activate newly installed software and deter piracy infringed on patents created and owned by David Colvin, the owner of privately held Z4.

Virgin Group eyes Northern Rock

Northern Rock PLC will hold accelerated takeover discussions with a consortium led by Virgin Group, the battered lender said Monday. Virgin, which wants to re-brand Northern Rock as part of its Virgin Money business, says its consortium would repay $22.7 billion of the $50 billion the Bank of England has loaned to Northern Rock on the completion of the transaction.

More job cuts at Citigroup?

Citigroup Inc., bracing for big credit-related losses in the fourth quarter, is looking to lower costs — which could mean another round of job cuts at the nation’s largest bank. Citigroup, which has about 320,000 employees, earlier this year reduced its workforce by 17,000 before the credit crisis. Its shares fell $1, or 3.15 percent, to close at $30.70 Monday. The bank is still looking for a new CEO. Charles Prince stepped down as chairman and chief executive Nov. 4, the same evening the bank announced that it will likely write down the value of its portfolio by another $8 billion to $11 billion in the fourth quarter.

OPEC guess lowers crude price

Oil futures retreated Monday on a widening belief that OPEC ministers will agree to raise crude production during a meeting next week. The falling dollar helped limit crude’s decline. At the pump, meanwhile, gas prices fell further from their recent highs now that Thanksgiving travel demand has faded. The average national price of a gallon of gas slipped 0.1 cent overnight to $3.085 a gallon, according to AAA, and is off 2.7 cents in less than two weeks, officials said.

Dubai’s ruler invests in Sony

Dubai International Capital, an investment company owned by the ruler of this booming Persian Gulf city-state, has acquired a stake of undisclosed size in the Japanese electronics and media company Sony Corp. Sony’s U.S. shares rose 1.9 percent Monday following the announcement, gaining 93 cents to $50.01.

T-bill rates drop in Monday auction

The Treasury Department auctioned three-month bills at a discount rate of 3.175 percent, down from 3.39 percent last week. Six-month bills were auctioned at a discount rate of 3.34 percent, down from 3.46 percent last week. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,919.74, while a six-month bill sold for $9,831.14. The Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable rate mortgages, fell to 3.3 percent last week from 3.58 percent.

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Members of Gravitics' team and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen stand in front of a mockup of a space module interior on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at Gravitics' Marysville facility. Left to right: Mark Tiner, government affairs representative; Jiral Shah, business development; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen; Mike DeRosa, marketing; Scott Macklin, lead engineer. (Gravitics.)
Marysville startup prepares for space — the financial frontier

Gravitics is building space station module prototypes to one day house space travelers and researchers.

Orca Mobility designer Mike Lowell, left, and CEO Bill Messing at their office on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could a Granite Falls startup’s three-wheeler revolutionize delivery?

Orca Mobility’s battery-powered, three-wheel truck is built on a motorcycle frame. Now, they aim to make it self-driving.

Catherine Robinweiler leads the class during a lab session at Edmonds College on April 29, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Grant aids apprenticeship program in Mukilteo and elsewhere

A $5.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will boost apprenticeships for special education teachers and nurses.

Peoples Bank is placing piggy banks with $30 around Washington starting Aug. 1.
(Peoples Bank)
Peoples Bank grant program seeks proposals from nonprofits

Peoples Bank offers up to $35,000 in Impact Grants aimed at helping communities. Applications due Sept. 15.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Arlington’s Eviation selects Seattle firm to configure production plane

TLG Aerospace chosen to configure Eviation Aircraft’s all-electric commuter plane for mass production.

Jim Simpson leans on Blue Ray III, one of his designs, in his shop on Friday, August 25, 2023, in Clinton, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Whidbey Island master mechanic building dream car from “Speed Racer”

Jim Simpson, 68, of Clinton, is using his knowledge of sports cars to assemble his own Mach Five.

An Amazon worker transfers and organizes items at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amazon cuts ribbon on colossal $355M fulfillment center in Arlington

At 2.8 million square feet, the facility is the largest of its kind in Washington. It can hold 40 million “units” of inventory.

A computer rendering of the North Creek Commerce Center industrial park in development at 18712 Bothell-Everett Highway. (Kidder Mathews)
Developer breaks ground on new Bothell industrial park

The North Creek Commerce Center on Bothell Everett Highway will provide warehouse and office space in three buildings.

Dan Bates / The Herald
Funko president, Brian Mariotti is excited about the growth that has led his company to need a 62,000 square foot facility in Lynnwood.
Photo Taken: 102312
Former Funko CEO resigns from the Everett company

Brian Mariotti resigned Sept. 1, six weeks after announcing he was taking a six-month sabbatical from the company.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Paper or plastic? Snohomish County may require businesses to take cash

County Council member Nate Nehring proposed an ordinance to ban cashless sales under $200. He hopes cities will follow suit.

A crowd begins to form before a large reception for the opening of Fisherman Jack’s at the Port of Everett on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Seafood with a view: Fisherman Jack’s opens at Port of Everett

“The port is booming!” The new restaurant is the first to open on “restaurant row” at the port’s Waterfront Place.

Tanner Mock begins unwrapping new furniture that has been delivered on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In Everett, new look, new name for mainstay Behar’s Furniture

Conlin’s Furniture, based in South Dakota, bought the huge store and celebrates with a grand opening this week.