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 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
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