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 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
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