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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Airline to add flights from Logan to Washington

THE REGION

United Airlines said it will increase its service between Logan International Airport and Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., to 14 daily round trips in February, up from nine currently. United and its United Express regional-jet affiliate will offer flights as often as hourly during the morning and early evening. United's increased service will follow JetBlue Airways plans to offer six daily Logan-Dulles round trips starting Jan. 17. United's website listed February flights at $276 round trip, which compares to $110 to $280 for JetBlue. (Peter J. Howe)

BRA backs special zoning status for Russia Wharf

The Boston Redevelopment Authority recommended special zoning status for Russia Wharf, a residential and office project near Fort Point Channel that is the subject of a lawsuit challenging its zoning variances. If zoning officials approve the BRA's recommendation, Russia Wharf would be designated as a ''planned development area." That designation can achieve the same goals as variances but can be more difficult to overturn in court. Russia Wharf is being developed by Equity Office Properties. Extell Development Co. filed the suit to protect a project it's building nearby. Separately, the BRA approved plans for redeveloping the former Cardinal Cushing High School in South Boston into 127 condos. (Chris Reidy)

First Marblehead, bank agree to extend a contract

First Marblehead Corp., a Boston firm that provides student loan services, said Bank of America Corp. has extended a contract through November. Bank of America is one of First Marblehead's largest customers, with multiple contracts. A month ago First Marblehead shares tumbled after Bank of America said it would not automatically renew another contract under current terms. Negotiations on that contract are ongoing. (Chris Reidy)

Charges for job cuts swing Novell to 4th-quarter loss

Novell Inc., a seller of computer network software and consulting services, swung to a $5 million fourth-quarter loss as it cut jobs. The loss amounted to 1 cent a share, compared with net income of $13.3 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, Waltham-based Novell said. Sales rose 6.5 percent to $320.3 million in the period ended Oct. 31. Chief executive Jack Messman on Nov. 2 said he would cut 10 percent of the workforce, or about 600 jobs. Excluding some costs, including $38 million in restructuring charges, fourth-quarter profit was $33 million, or 7 cents a share, Novell said. (Bloomberg)

United Technologies sues PerkinElmer over patent

United Technologies Corp., maker of Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines and Otis elevators, filed a lawsuit accusing PerkinElmer Inc. of infringing a patent for a brush seal used in aircraft engines. The patent is for a device that creates a seal between a rotating component and one that's stationary. It was developed for aircraft engines and can be used in other turbo machines, according to the United Technologies patent. The lawsuit, filed Nov. 29 in federal court in New Haven, doesn't name the products alleged to have infringed the patent. Wellesley-based PerkinElmer, which makes lab equipment, agreed in October to sell its aerospace division to Eaton Corp. for $333 million. The dispute is ''under the massive umbrella of the sale process to Eaton," said PerkinElmer spokesman Dan Sutherby. (Bloomberg)

3d-quarter revenue drop pushes SeaChange to loss

SeaChange International Inc. swung to a fiscal third-quarter loss on a revenue drop, but outlined plans to focus on its video-on-demand systems. The Maynard digital video systems company reported a third-quarter loss of $2.11 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a year-ago profit of $5.55 million, or 19 cents a share. For the quarter ended Oct. 31, revenue fell 17 percent to $35.3 million from $42.6 million a year earlier. The company, which said it is focusing on the growing video-on-demand market, added it has expanded to eight product lines integral to the business of on-demand television. (Dow Jones)

THE NATION

Bank of America brokerage cuts online trading fees

Bank of America Corp.'s retail brokerage cut online trading fees and offered all its personal checking account customers special discounts. One reason for the change is to provide additional benefits to customers with broad relationships with the bank. Under a new pricing structure, customers with personal checking accounts can make ''self-directed" online stock purchases for $7 to $10 per trade with Banc of America Investment Services, the bank's primary retail brokerage affiliate. Customers of the bank's premier and private banking services can make trades for $5. Under previous pricing, customers had paid $19.95 per online trade. Under new pricing, customers who don't have other relationships with the bank will be charged $14 per trade. (Chris Reidy)

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