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Etc...

Victory is sweet

Stewing over claims by an ice cream company that its product was low in fat, a group of Florida weight-watchers sued, seeking a $1.2 million payoff. Last week, the class- action suit against the Big Daddy brand and its maker, DeConna Inc., was settled in Broward County Circuit Court, which found the labels were false by a factor of three. So, how much do the winners actually collect? Only about $25,000. The rest will be made up in ... more ice cream: two free cups for each one they can prove they purchased.

Cuddly or sinister, fictional characters are big sellers

He's been called a bear of very little brain, but Winnie the Pooh still took in a bundle last year. More, in fact, than Mickey Mouse, trainee wizard Harry Potter, and other popular characters from books, movies, and TV, according to an annual list compiled by Forbes. The magazine's top 10 earning fictional creations of 2002 (in millions):

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1. Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne $5.9 billion
2. Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney Co. 4.7 billion
3. Harry Potter, from the series by J.K. Rowling 2.9 billion
4. Spider-Man, Marvel Comics 2.7 billion
5. Frodo Baggins, "Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien 2.2 billion
6. Darth Vader, "Star Wars" movie saga 1.3 billion
7. Sully, "Monsters Inc." 993
8. Pikachu, "Pokémon" animated TV series 825
9. SpongeBob SquarePants, animated TV series 800
10. Yugi Moto, "Yu-Gi-Oh," animated TV series 725