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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Microsoft targets Android with lawsuits over Nook

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. broadened its attack on Google Inc.'s Android software, filing patent infringement lawsuits Monday against Barnes & Noble Inc. and two manufacturers over the Android-based Nook e-reader.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Microsoft is seeking triple damages based on willful and deliberate patent infringement, plus legal costs and an injunction against further infringement.

Microsoft said it also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, which has the power to bar imports of infringing products.

The Nook devices, which compete with Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle e-reader and various Sony Corp. devices, are based on Android system software developed by Google first for smartphones and then for tablet computers.

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Antoinette's on Hill in deal

Nick Charlap's Ice Cream has formed a joint venture where the North Boston ice cream maker will run the ice cream portion of the business at the Antoinette's on the Hill candy shop in West Seneca.

The venture does not affect the chocolate and candy store operations at the shop, located at 1203 Union Road. Those operations will continue to be run by Antoinette's on the Hill, said George Hasiotis, the candy store company's vice president.

Hasiotis said the joint venture, which will take effect April 1, is an opportunity for both companies to focus on what they do best. "Partnerships such as this only strengthen the viability of our small businesses," Hasiotis said. "It's an opportunity for me to improve our chocolate and candy operations."

A grand opening for the reorganized, 6,000-square-foot store is expected to be held in early June.

The partnership does not include Antoinette's Sweets, which is located on Transit Road in Depew and is owned by the Morphis family.

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Union authorizes strike

Unionized workers at Luvata Buffalo over the weekend voted in favor of giving their leaders the authority to call a strike, as contract talks continue.

A one-year extension of a contract between the workers, represented by Local 593, United Steel Workers, and Luvata is set to expire March 31.

Strike authorization votes are sometimes taken during contract bargaining to give union negotiators another possible course of action. It does not necessarily mean a strike will be called.

USW Local 593 represents about 450 workers at the North Buffalo brass and copper plant.

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Paramount plans to hire 50

A local insurance agency and employee benefits consulting firm is going on a hiring binge over the next four months, as it pursues plans to expand statewide and into Pennsylvania by the end of the year.

Amherst-based Paramount Risk Management said Monday that it plans to hire more than 50 benefits consultants to respond to surging demand for its services. The company cited rising health insurance costs and the increasing complexity of regulations as contributing to that demand.

The firm is planning to expand its services and geographical reach to cover the entire state and parts of Pennsylvania.

"Our plan is to expand globally and provide employment opportunities with unlimited growth opportunities," said CEO Kevin J. Gawel.

For more information or to apply, call (716) 901-6039.

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Graham Corp. wins 5 orders

Graham Corp. has won five orders worth a total of about $6.5 million to supply equipment to customers in the energy industry, the Batavia manufacturer said Monday.

Three of the orders are for the renewable energy market, with one for equipment that will be installed in a geothermal energy plant in Southeast Asia. The other two renewable energy projects are for biomass-to-energy facilities that are being built in North America.

The remaining two orders are for ejector systems that will be installed in oil refineries, one in the United States and the other in Asia, that are being expanded.

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