Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category
- U.S. courts have long split on whether Internet search engines, like Google, may lawfully sell brand names as keywords to those other than the trademark owner. Now, emboldened by victories abroad, Google has announced it will not restrict the sale of trademarks as keywords anywhere in the world and will not stop such sale even in the face of trademark owners’ complaints.
- On March 19, 2013, the Supreme Court found lawful the practice of exporting for sale in the U.S. “grey market” textbooks sold abroad. This is a big blow for publishers who now face competition from purchasers abroad who may pay much less for the textbooks in their countries than the prices for which they are sold in the U.S.
The Fed wrapped up its March 2013 meeting this afternoon with Fed Chairman Bernanke trimming the Fed’s economic growth forecast for the balance of 2013, although projecting an increase in jobs. Bernanke projected the economy to grow at a slower pace than previously projected, with the projection now at 2.3% to 2.8% by the end of the year. Bernanke also projected the unemployment rate to fall to 7.3% to 7.5% by the end of the year. The current unemployment rate is 7.7%.
With the Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke about to deliver his remarks following the conclusion of the Bank’s current two-day meeting, Cyprus is in turmoil … again. Yesterday, the Cypriot parliament blocked a €10 billion bailout by the European Union by rejecting a tax on bank deposits that would help fund the rescue. Cypriot officials are in emergency talks with EU Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund officials to develop a plan to keep Cyprus from falling off the economic cliff. Cyprus promised to raise to raise €5.8 billion to prevent the country’s debt from exploding.
A French court has held that British tour operator Le Ski violated French law by giving welcome tours to participants on its ski trips. The case is an apparent victory for French ski instructors who came out against the practice.
According to a report published in The Telegraph, it is a common custom for British ski tour operators to give informal mountain tours to participants on the first day of a trip. The tour guides do not go off-piste and offer the service as a courtesy to familiarize newcomers with the resort. It was this practice that the French court held violated Article L.212-1 of the Code du Sport. Loosely translated, Article L.212-1 requires anyone who is paid to teach or lead a ski group to have a certificate. Le Ski’s guides did not hold ski instructor certifications and thus were held to have violated the statute.
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission continues its aggressive enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its pursuit of U.S. companies who bribe or attempt to bribe “foreign officials” or “instrumentalities of foreign governments.” Just this past Friday, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, an international gambling empire, informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that, based upon an internal investigation of its operations, it likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials. A few days earlier, the Kimco Realty Corporation, a real estate investment trust specializing in shopping centers, disclosed that it had been served with a subpoena from the S.E.C. as part of the investigation into foreign bribery by Wal-Mart in its Mexican subsidiary and elsewhere. That investigation came about after extensive reporting in The New York Times by David Barstow and Alexandra Xanic von Bertrab about tactics used by Walmart de Mexico to gain approval to build stores in Mexico.
The Federal Reserve Bank announced today that it plans to continue its “Quantitative Easing” program following the expiration of Operation Twist at the end of December. Given its sense about the slow recovery of the U.S. and global economies, the Fed will continue its Quantitative Easing program into the foreseeable future. Not only did the Fed announce that it would continue QE by buying $45 billion of Treasuries each month beginning in 2013, but it also announce that it would continue buying $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities.
EU Finance Ministers and the IMF Agree to Reduce Greece’s Debt. Don’t Hold Your Breath Germany.
The International Monetary Fund and the EU Foreign Finance Ministers agreed today after weeks of failed attempts to reduce Greece’s foreign debt. The package, achieved after twelve hours of negotiations overnight with international lenders will reduce Greece’s debt by 40 Billion Euros. If projections are correct, Greek debt will be cut to 124% of GDP by 2020; foreign ministers also agreed to take additional steps to further reduce that number to 120%. Without the agreement and the release of much needed financial aid, some economists forecasted that Greek debt would reach 190 to 200% of GDP within the next two years. Those numbers would be unsustainable with the likelihood that Greece would be out of the EU.
The debt reduction package included a number of typically used financial tools, from a reduction of the interest rate on official loans, the extension of the maturity of Greece’s loans from the EFSF by 15 to 30 years and the granting of a 10 year interest payment deferral on the EFSF loans. Talks surrounding the negotiations also alluded to an outright forgiveness of some of those loans in the future, but there was no public statement in that regard.
IN THE NEWS: China’s People’s Daily Reporter Sees Trade and Logistic Benefits for Doing Business in New Jersey
NJ Biz reports: Reporters from China commenced a tour of some New Jersey businesses on Thursday. Yun Wu, a reporter for People’s Daily newspaper, noted that New Jersey businesses are “very strong in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and education” and that there is a lot of potential for New Jersey and China businesses to work together. Following his meeting with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Yun Wu said, “I think I have a very complete picture of what New Jersey’s government does to make New Jersey attractive for Chinese business. You can even see in the state’s port many containers with China’s shipping seal. That really surprised me, because it shows the degree of closeness between China and New Jersey.”
In an important ruling by a federal judge in Dallas, Texas, Cointreau Corporation, owner of rights in the famous “COINTREAU” trademark for orange liqueur, has succeeded in its request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the sale of a competing orange liqueur product sold under the trademark “CONTROY.” Cointreau Corporation, represented by Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., was able to convince the court that Cointreau was likely to succeed in showing that the use of the trademark Controy, on a product manufactured by Mexico’s La Madrilena S.A. de C.V. and distributed in the United States by Pura Vida Tequila Company, LLC, dilutes Cointreau’s rights in its famous brand by blurring its distinctiveness, based on the close similarity of the two marks. The injunction bars the defendants from importing into, or selling, any orange liqueur in the United States under the “CONTROY” name. In so ruling, the Court noted “In this case, damage to the goodwill and selling power associated with the Cointreau Marks would be difficult if not impossible to calculate in monetary terms. Cointreau Corp. has thus shown a substantial threat that it will suffer irreparable injury in the absence of an injunction.”
The case was handled by Bruce S. Londa and Jeanne Hamburg, members of the firm and of the Intellectual Property Group, and Danielle M. DeFilippis, an associate with the firm and member of the Litigation Department, all practicing out of the New York office of the Bridgewater-based law firm.
Edouard Cointreau first distilled his eponymous orange liqueur in 1875. The Cointreau distillery began selling the liqueur in that same year and brought it to market in the United States by 1885. Today, Cointreau is the second-most-popular orange liqueur in the United States by volume. “With the court’s decision supporting the fame and distinctiveness that our brand has earned over the past 140 years, Cointreau can put aside the legal issues, and focus on our mission to provide consumers with our premium orange liqueur,” says Cointreau Vice-President and General Counsel David Babkow.
Guest Bloggers: William Doane & John Gabrielski
With two important meetings coming up this week, is it a surprise that investors performed hesitantly Monday? Maybe, but considering the strong performance by the major markets last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (the DOW moved up 450 points over that time), it seems that we are continuing in the Jeckel & Hyde market.
This Monday, the Dow and S&P 500 both opened slightly up, but closed relatively flat. It seems the markets are stuck in neutral pending the results of the mid-week conferences – how will the markets respond?