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?
As a result of ongoing investigations into allegations of facilitating tax evasion, U.S. officials have extended an offer to 11 Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, HSBC Switzerland, and Basler Kantonalbank, to end the investigations in exchange for a fine to be paid by each bank and the disclosure of U.S. client data.» Read More
On February 8, 2011, the IRS announced the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, which ends on August 31, 2011. Participation in the program allows taxpayers to potentially avoid criminal investigation and fixes penalties at lower rates than those which would typically apply.
To participate, taxpayers must file amended tax returns for 2003 through 2010 that include any unreported income or gains from those years and pay the tax thereon plus a 20% accuracy related penalty. » Read More
Blackberry received some positive market growth following the demonstration of their new product, The Playbook, in Los Angeles last week. Research in Motion (RIM), a Canadian company, witnessed a growth of 6.2 percent in share price, shortly after the launch. The Playbook has received criticism from Apple for its size, measuring well over two inches smaller than the iPad. Countering this argument, RIM relied on the products attributes, including its alliance with Adobe Flash Player, which will provide enhanced video content for the new product, and remains unique to the Playbook.
U.S. Moves to Block New BP Oil Leases. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. lawmakers are pushing an amendment to ban the U.K. company from obtaining any further oil leases, due to safety concerns. In addition to being under intense scrutiny in Congress, BP is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and environmental regulators for ignoring safety failures and could face billions of dollars in fines.