This week in international business news, it is patent, trademark, and more patent. Could one small step for FindtheBest be a giant leap for patent law? Is Google making an extra effort to steer clear of lawsuit by FIFA over World Cup? EU investigates “patent box” tax breaks; could that spell trouble for Apple, Starbucks, and Fiat?
In her remarks to Congress this morning, Fed Chair Janet Yellen noted that while she is not overly concerned about the U.S. economy going forward, she is concerned that the U.S. housing market may be a drag on that continued recovery. She commented that while the U.S. economy was basically stagnant in the first quarter (a 0.1% annual growth rate), much of that stagnation can be attributable to the harsh winter in the U.S.
“I see that pause as mostly reflecting transitory factors, including the effects of the unusually cold and snowy winter weather.” Continuing her remarks, Yellen said “with the harsh winter behind us, many recent indicators suggest that a rebound in spending and production is already under way, putting the overall economy on track for solid growth in the current quarter.”
In this week’s REWIND of international business law news, a New York judge resuscitates a colonial law to allow a lawsuit against U.S. companies for doing business with the South African apartheid regime, India braces for a potential United States downgrade of its intellectual property rights classification, and New York authorities poise to charge area car dealerships in a scheme to export luxury cars to China.
It has been more than two years since the IRS launched the third official offshore voluntary disclosure program (“2012 OVDP”.) In its current form, 2012 OVDP has no set closing date. It is meant to bring U.S. taxpayers into compliance by offering them a fitted approach to filing informational returns and amending their tax returns for unreported offshore income without criminal proceedings.
The price tag? An asset based penalty in the amount of 27.5% of the highest aggregate balance in non-compliant accounts and an income based penalty in the amount of the underpaid tax on the unreported income, plus 20% of that tax plus interest.
This week, our REWIND of international business news covers Italian court decision that the sky is the limit for Emirates Airline; meanwhile, European venture capitalists skip the 11-hour flight to Silicon Valley to invest in European tech startups; and major global music companies are accused of trying to take the whole “cloud” down.
This week in international business, we have a case going to the Supreme Court, which may determine whether a tougher standard for patentability may be enforced; Canada’s “trade-mark” law reform; millions of new Google shares on the market; and Mississippi extends trade-secret protections to universities and colleges.
For some time now, the IRS has been focusing on offshore income and offshore assets. Since 2009, the IRS has had three different offshore voluntary disclosure initiatives, designed to offer amnesty to non-compliant U.S. taxpayers who would like to come forward to straighten out the federal income tax situation and their informational filing situation (commonly FBARs).
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 294,589 of 301,238 U.S. exporters in 2012, or about 97%, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in December.
– Rhonda Colvin, “The Cost of Expanding Overseas: As More Small Businesses Sell Goods Abroad, They Encounter Challenges—Like Getting Paid,” The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2014
According to a survey of small businesses by the National Small Business Association and the Small Business Exporters Association in 2013, 41% of respondents said the largest challenge to selling goods and services to foreign customers was concern about securing payment from clients, up significantly from only 26% in 2010.
In this week’s REWIND of international business law news, it’s all about intellectual property, patent trolls might be forced to pay the fees awards toll, performance copyrights takedown of “Innocence of Muslims,” and the submission and subsequent
crushing withdrawal of a trademark application.