Lenovo hires Kutcher to design, pitch tablet
October 31, 2013 10:40 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Computer-maker Lenovo has hired tech-savvy actor Ashton Kutcher to help design and pitch its latest line of tablets, dubbing the Hollywood star a “product engineer” who can bring his ideas along with his image.

It’s the latest tech foray for the “Two and a Half Men” performer who recently starred in a biopic about innovative giant Steve Jobs and has invested venture capital in more than a dozen Silicon Valley startups.

The deal was announced Tuesday at a Lenovo live-streamed event in Los Angeles. Lenovo’s first video advertisements for the new Yoga Tablet feature Kutcher acting as a product tester in his boxers, a spacesuit and aboard an airplane.

The company said Kutcher will do more than just advertise.

“This partnership goes beyond traditional bounds by deeply integrating him into our organization as a product engineer as we look at developing the next wave of products,” said Lenovo spokesman David Roman.

Kutcher — who in recent years has appeared in ads for snack chips and cameras — said of Lenovo, “Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn’t ask for a better fit.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lenovo, with headquarters in Beijing and in Research Triangle Park, N.C., acquired IBM’s computer business in 2005 and became the world’s top PC-maker ahead of HP in the third quarter. But, like other manufacturers, it has struggled with waning consumer demand for desktop and laptop models.

It’s one of several Asian tech companies seeking to loosen Apple’s grip on China’s tablet market with less expensive Android models.

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NEW YORK — Claire Danes has been tapped to host the 20th anniversary Nobel Peace Prize concert in December.

The Emmy-winning “Homeland” actress will host the Dec. 11 event in Oslo, Norway.

The concert will celebrate the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the prestigious honor earlier this month.

The watchdog agency works to eliminate the world’s chemical weapons and received the prize days after OPCW inspectors started arriving in war-torn Syria to oversee the dismantling of President Bashar Assad’s chemical arsenal.

The Nobel Peace Prize concert typically attracts top celebrities. Past luminaries have included Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Tony Bennett. The lineup for this year’s concert has yet to be announced.

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LOS ANGELES — An invasion of privacy lawsuit that LeAnn Rimes filed against two northern California women has been dismissed.

Los Angeles court records show the actress-singer’s suit against Kimberly Smiley and her daughter Alexis Smiley was dismissed Monday. The dismissal prevents Rimes from refiling the case.

Rimes sued the women in August 2012 claiming they recorded a phone conversation with her and posted it online. She said the recording damaged her reputation and relationships, and caused her emotional distress.

Kimberly Smiley denied wrongdoing in an interview after the suit was filed.

Steve White, an attorney representing the Smileys, says the two sides resolved their differences and he could not comment further.

Rimes’ lawyer, Larry Stein, was not immediately available to comment.

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LOS ANGELES — Two of Marvin Gaye’s children sued Robin Thicke and his collaborators on the hit song “Blurred Lines” on Wednesday, accusing them of copyright infringement and alleging music company EMI failed to protect their father’s legacy.

Nona Marvisa Gaye and Frankie Christian Gaye’s suit is the latest salvo in a dispute over Thicke’s hit and whether it copies elements of Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up.”

Their lawsuit seeks to block Thicke and collaborators Pharrell and T.I. from using elements of their father’s music in “Blurred Lines” or other songs.

Thicke has denied copying Gaye’s song for “Blurred Lines,” which has the longest streak this year atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has sold more than 6 million tracks so far.

Much of the lawsuit focuses on claims that EMI should have pursued a copyright infringement claim. It accuses the company’s executives of using intimidation to try to stop the Gaye family from pursuing a lawsuit.

The suit claims EMI, which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment, has allowed a conflict of interest between the family’s rights and the profits it is earning from “Blurred Lines” sales.

“This conflict has resulted in EMI’s intentional decision to align themselves with the (‘Blurred Lines’) writers, without regard to the harm inflicted upon the rights and interests of the Gaye Family, and the legacy of Marvin Gaye,” the lawsuit states.

A phone message seeking comment from Sony Music was not immediately returned.

Thicke and his collaborators filed a case in August asking a federal judge to rule that the singers did not copy “Got to Give It Up” for their hit.

Howard King, who represents the singers, said the Gayes’ countersuit was not unexpected, but he said their decision to sue EMI demonstrates the family lacks the appropriate authority to pursue the case against his clients.

He rejected the notion that EMI turned a blind eye to improper copying of Gaye’s music. “EMI is in the business of collecting money for infringements,” King said.

The company likely consulted a musicologist who found nothing improper, the attorney said.

King said his firm consulted three music experts who determined the notes in the two songs were different.

Gaye’s son Marvin Gaye III also might pursue legal action over the song, but he is not included in the federal court suit filed Wednesday.

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SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — A jury on Wednesday found a northern California teen guilty of stealing celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini sports car from a San Francisco dealership.

The Marin County panel found Max Wade, 19, guilty of commercial burglary and auto theft, after hearing evidence that Wade had rappelled into British Motors in 2011 to purloin the $200,000 convertible. The car was in the shop for repairs at the time.

Wade was also found guilty of attempted murder and firing a gun into an occupied vehicle in an unrelated drive-by shooting of a man who was dating a girl Wade desired. The man wasn’t injured.

Marin County prosecutor Yvette Martinez said Wade had stolen the yellow Lamborghini to impress the girl and was willing to kill to get her attention.

Wade pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He now faces up to 30 years in prison.

Detectives testified during the trial that they found the gun used in the shooting, two assault weapons and shotgun shells, as well as climbing gear.

Fieri, a star of Food Network, testified during the trial that he had never met Wade and never gave him permission to drive his car.

The teen made news again last year after at least two people tried to break into Marin County’s juvenile hall with sledgehammers in an unsuccessful attempt to free him.

Authorities took extra measures to ensure security in the courtroom during the trial, keeping Wade tethered to a chair bolted to the floor.

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