Business Diary: A crack in Lego's brick wall
Wednesday 15 September 2010
Bad news for Lego, the Danish toy manufacturer with which the world has grown up. Its bricks – specifically the most basic 4x2 block – have long been protected by European trademark law, preventing rivals from offering similar products. Now the European Court of Justice has upheld a complaint from Canada's Mega Brands, the maker of Mega Bloks, that trademark protection can't be extended to a shape in this way. There's no room for sentimentality in the courtroom.
Taking liberties with language
Debenhams is a much-loved high-street institution, but surely it can't just reinvent the English language? The retailer seems to think it is acceptable to use the word "anniversary" as a verb. "This will anniversary as we move into the first quarter of 2011," its market update says of one of its businesses. Worse, the idea is catching on. Here's Investec on Marks & Spencer's progress: "Better-balanced autumn ranges should allow M&S to anniversary tougher comparisons". Stop it please.
Businesses told to hire humans
A stern warning arrives from law firm Boodle Hatfield. From 1 October, "all companies must have at least one human director", under new legislation. That begs all sorts of questions – not least which companies are run by animals, or even aliens? And while many of us have bosses we might wonder about sometimes, surely every company has a human director already? Apparently, the regulation applies to subsidiaries of companies where the only director is the parent firm. More boring than we hoped.
Swiss raiders return to UK
Representatives of Lucerne sent delegates to London this year to tempt high-earners with those cheap Swiss tax rates. Now the Relocate to Switzerland group is back, with a newsletter that rather unkindly takes great pains to highlight Britain's growing national debt (the implication presumably being that rich folk who don't leave the country will have to pay all this borrowing off). Hands off our wealthy, guys.
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
Ottawa shooting: 'Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers shot suspect at point-blank range after diving around pillar'
Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Jack Bruce dead: Cream bass player dies of liver disease, aged 71
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
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