The Tokyo District Court has ordered Sotec to halt production of its e-one PC, ruling it similar enough to the iMac that it will "confuse" customers.

The court's preliminary injunction prevents Sotec from manufacturing, selling, displaying, exporting or importing the e-one. Apple Japan filed a suit against Sotec last month, seeking an injunction.

Judge Toshiaki Iimura of the was quoted in newspaper reports in Japan as saying that the machines are not only similar in style, but also detail.

"In addition to a worry that consumers might confuse the two products, there exists a fear that customers could misconstrue the relationship between Sotec and Apple," Iimura was quoted as saying in Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Sotec began selling its cut-price Windows 98-equipped machine in Japan in July. The e-one retails in Japan for around 130,000 yen (£750), about 30,000 yen less than Apple's iMac.

A Sotec spokesman acknowledged that the company was aware of the ruling.

Apple also sued eMachines last month, alleging that company's bargain-basement eOne machine was an iMac knock-off.

And on July 1, Apple filed a similar suit against Korea's Daewoo Telecom and its joint venture, Future Power.