Business

ONLY IN BELGIUM

By: Candice Diah* | Staff Writer

© European Union, 2016

“Only in Belgium” is the tagline used to attract international companies to invest under Belgium’s “excess profit” tax scheme. The scheme has been in place since 2005 and allows multinational corporations to discount profits that resulted from their multinational status. For example, profits derived from the company’s international reputation, or profits made as a result of the synergies that come with multinational operations, are not taxed. Instead, taxes are calculated using the amount of profit the company would have made, but for these advantages. This results in tax savings of 50-90% for some companies. The tax scheme was said to avoid double taxation. However, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, explained that the system resulted in double non-taxation, as the excess profits were not taxed in any other country. Continue reading »

IBM Buys the Actual Clouds With Recent Purchase of The Weather Channel’s Digital Assets

By: Sarah Wesley Wheaton* | Staff Writer

On October 28th, IBM announced its purchase of the Weather Company data assets.  This deal is reportedly valued at more than two billion dollars.  This purchase only included the Weather Company’s digital and data assets, including Weather Underground, weather.com, the WSI, and the company’s data driven business-to business arm.  What this purchase does not include is the company’s flagship network, which has recently been struggling with lost profits as there is a decline in year-to-year viewership of 7.6%.

Photo by ClockReady

IBM’s Watson computer, Yorktown Heights, NY

Continue reading »

Fair Use Fashion? Or Stolen Street Art?: Examining Copyright Protection for Graffiti through Katy Perry’s Moschino Gown

By: Alex Braverman* | Staff Writer

“The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit.” – Banksy

Photo by ivabellini via Flckr

Photo by ivabellini via Flckr

At the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala in May, Katy Perry walked the red carpet in a stunning Moschino gown bearing a graffiti print strikingly similar to a 2012 mural painted by street artist Joseph Tierney in Detroit.  Since the appearance, Tierney has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Moschino, a well-known Italian fashion house, for replicating his art without consent.  Tierney claims that graffiti qualifies for copyright protection as an original work fixed in a tangible medium, which if true, precludes reproduction and replication for commercial use.  Continue reading »

Business as Usual or Profiteering? A Look at Recent Drug Price Hikes

By: Tyler Hood* | Staff Writer

Healthcare is notoriously expensive, and drugs are no exception. Drugs are notoriously costly, with some costing thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Recently, we’ve all been inundated with news stories about companies drastically raising the prices of certain drugs. Generally, the most expensive drugs are those still on patent. Pharmaceutical companies sell new drugs for such high prices primarily to recoup research and development costs. In fact, taking into account the cost of failed candidates, a drug company spends approximately $5 billion to bring a drug to market. Once the patents expire, generic versions become available and the prices drop. However, recently developed drugs are not the only ones carrying a huge price tag. In some cases, obscure drugs that have been around a long time are subject to price increases if the market for the drug is small enough.

Photo by Sage Ross, CC by-sa

Continue reading »

Chubby Checker Gets “Twisted” Over Cufflinks

By: Alexandra Braverman* | Staff Writer 

The famous musician known for recording “The Twist,” Ernest Evans, aka “Chubby Checker,” brought suit against major retailers Nordstrom, Inc., Amazon, Inc., Macys, Inc., Squire Fine Men’s Apparel LLC, and Würkin Stiffs over a recently released line of cufflinks bearing the Chubby Checker trademark.  The complaint, filed in Florida federal court, included claims of federal trademark dilution and infringement, federal unfair competition, and false endorsement.  According to Mr. Evans, the cufflink manufacturer – Wurkin’ Stiffs – manufactured and marketed the cufflinks with the Chubby Checker name without obtaining consent from Mr. Evans or his related entities.  In light of the use, Mr. Evans seeks injunctive relief, treble damages, and punitive damages to the tune of 8-figures, according to Mr. Evans’s lawyer. 

Continue reading »

Snack Subscription Services, Thinking Inside the Box?

By: Alexandra Braverman* | Staff Writer

Subscription snack and food box businesses are popping up everywhere, hoping to cash in on America’s insatiable appetite for novelty, convenience and munchies.” – The New York Times 

Fancy Food Box Subscription

Fancy Food Box Subscription

Since the introduction of Birchbox in 2010, the demand for specialized goods via subscription has boomed.  With the option of having personalized boxes delivered monthly, customers are now choosing to buy beauty products, clothes, and food through online subscriptions.  According to the New York Times, the competition among the subscription snack market is particularly fierce.  Entrepreneurs have exploded into every corner of the food box market, introducing variations on the original box that feature regional, organic, portion-controlled, and novelty-themed options. Continue reading »

Refugee Issue Creating a Shadow Market in Turkey

By: Alec Robertson* | Staff Writer 

Sometimes in the most unfortunate of situations an economy can get a significant boost. For example, World War II as a whole helped the United States (at least partially) work its way out of the Great Depression. As the economy of the world has been in a downswing for the last few years, there seems to be a new slight “boost” to the economy of Turkey due to the refugee crisis across the Middle East. What is happening in a nutshell is that refugees seeking to leave the crisis areas across the Middle East are reached by smugglers in Turkey and then paid to get multiple refugees across borders into Turkey so that they can then be moved into Europe. Likewise, visually one could see just from walking around Turkey that stores are lined now with inflatable rafts and life jackets and that the taxis and buses are specifically transporting refugees to port areas where they can be launched into Europe. In theory, Turkey is acting as the middle man for immigration into Europe during this refugee crisis.

Continue reading »

Boston Bruins vs. …… the IRS?

By: Alec Robertson* | Staff Writer

On July 27, 2015, the Boston Bruins (NHL) filed an action in the U.S. Tax Court titled Jacobs v. Commissioner to go head to head with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over the deductibility of players’ meals. On April 28, 2015, the IRS sent a letter to the Boston Bruins stating the Bruins owed $85,000 for the years 2009 and 2010 in taxes. The note additionally stated that the IRS had disallowed many deductions dating back to 2007. One of the largest of those disallowed deductions was for the Bruins’ practice of deducting players’ meals 100% while traveling for away games.

Continue reading »

Another Battle in the Patent War of Apple and Samsung

By: Tyler S. Hood* | Staff Writer

On September 17, the federal circuit decided Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the latest patent case decision in a protracted series of smartphone patent infringement battles between the two electronics giants.  The case concerned Samsung’s alleged infringement on a few Apple smartphone patents, perhaps most notably the patent for the swipe-to-unlock feature. The District Court had ruled that Samsung had infringed on the Apple patents in question, but the court denied to issue a permanent injunction on the grounds that Apple  failed to demonstrate that the infringement resulted in irreparable harm.

Transferred from Flickr by User:Fæ

Transferred from Flickr by User:Fæ

Continue reading »

The FDA Hits R.J. Reynolds

By: Alec Robertson* | Staff Writer

Photo by Geierunited

R.J. Reynolds, a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., is the second largest tobacco company in the United States and has historically done well through the sale of its popular cigarettes such as Newport and Camel. Even with all of this success, recently smoking has been on the decline because of various things including increase in taxes on cigarettes, the increase in preventive messages sent towards the youth, and the realization of the true harm smoking can do to humans. Now, another shot at the R.J. Reynolds empire has been fired by none other than the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The FDA on September 15, 2015 ordered that all stores carrying Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol, or Vantage Tech 13 must immediately stop the sale of those cigarettes and dispose of them within 30 days of the order or face severe financial penalties.

Continue reading »