Thursday, August 02, 2018

Web Guide for the New Economy 2018

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Hoffer wrote one of the greatest lines I’ve ever read, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

Is there more to Adam Smith than free markets? John Kay. Adam Smith is a writer more often misquoted than read.

Turnbull’s new brooms: Woolcott and Mathieson are no apparatchiks
VERONA BURGESS: Both well-regarded, with only short stints in ministerial offices, the recent appointments of Peter Woolcott and Clive Mathieson show the PM still trusts in professionals — even with an election looming.

Exclusive: Squeezed firms could pay staff less frequently

Following up on my previous post, Can Trump Enact A Second Tax Cut On His Own By Indexing Capital Gains?:  New York Times, Trump Administration Mulls a Unilateral Tax Cut for the Rich, by Alan Rappeport & Jim Tankersley:
The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

With Greed and Cynicism, Big Tech is Fueling Inequalities in America Monday Note 

A velvety, deep purple traditional stye sofa is paired with a violet, patterned area rug, rich, wooden walls and a large, white coffee table.
Politico, ‘Eye-Popping’ Payouts for CEOs Follow Trump’s Tax Cuts:
Some of the biggest winners from President Donald Trump’s new tax law are corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares.

Another Swiss Asset and Financial Manager Reaches NPA with DOJ Tax 

DOJ Tax issued a press release, here, yesterday that Mirelis Holding, SA (Mirelis), a Swiss Asset and Financial Manager, had reached an NPA regarding its assistance for U.S. taxpayers.  Mirelis will pay an aggregate amount of $10.245 million broken down as follows:

Restitution:  $3.245 million
Disgorgement: $5 million
Other penalties: $2 million.

The press release is lengthy in giving many details.  Much of the typical pattern of Swiss Bank servicing of U.S. taxpayers hiding their income and assets.  The press release links the relevant documents, principally the NPA and Statement of Facts (identified as Download Mirelies (sic) NPA).

The following is an interesting disclosure:
Mirelis submitted a letter of intent to participate as a Category 2 bank in the Department’s Swiss Bank Program in December 2013.  Although it was ultimately determined that Mirelis was not eligible for the Swiss Bank Program due to its structure as both an asset management firm and a bank, Mirelis is required under today’s agreement to fully comply with the obligations imposed under the terms of that program.  Mirelis has fully cooperated with the Department of Justice in this investigation, including undertaking a separate and thorough review of the provision of independent portfolio and asset management services to U.S. taxpayer-clients with accounts maintained at third-party depository financial institutions and encouraging a significant number of its remaining non-compliant U.S. taxpayer-clients to participate, or provide proof of prior participation, in OVDP covering many of the U.S. Related Accounts maintained by Mirelis during the Applicable Period.

WE USE DUMB PHONE - THIS SHOULD SURPRISE NO ONE: Using smartphones during lectures leads to lower grades, study finds.

Pew – “Robocalls — those nettlesome autodial telephone calls from both scammers and legitimate businesses — skyrocketed in the first half of 2018, and have prompted the most complaints to federal and most state enforcement officials of any consumer topic in recent years. But as much as top state law enforcement officers would love to go after the robocallers, who often operate outside the law, the combined hurdles of technology, economics and geography make the job difficult. Robocalls jumped dramatically nationwide this year, from 2.9 billion in January to 4.1 billion in June, according to YouMail Inc., a company that tracks robocalls and sells software to block them. Unwanted calls are the biggest complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, making up about 60 percent of complaints the agency gets. Robocalls also are the top complaint at the Federal Trade Commission, which in fiscal 2017 received more than 4.5 million robocall complaints. [h/t Pete Weiss]
Data Interview Qs: “Many executives in public companies sit on multiple boards of directors, meaning they have a vested interest in multiple companies. For example, if a board member sits on both Company A and Company B, then it’s in this individual’s best interest to ensure that Company A’s decisions don’t negatively impact Company B, and vice versa. This creates a ‘link’ or ‘connection’ between the two (or three, or four) companies. Within the largest 50 companies in the S&P 500 (the scope of this analysis), 39/50 (or 78%), are directly connected to one another through 1 or more board member. It’s worth noting that the # of connections get much larger when you expand the scope beyond 50 companies or expand to second and third degree connections, but it becomes pretty difficult to fit into any sort of visualization, so I’ve limited scope significantly for this analysis. Th[is] visualization shows the board member connections within the 50 largest public companies (if two companies share at least one board member, then they are flagged as connected). You can hover over a specific company to see its connection(s), and the # of connections for each company are shown in parenthesis next to the name.”

Vox – Wildfires have ignited inside the Arctic Circle – In Sweden, Latvia, and Greece, wildfires are spreading amid a brutal heat wave. “It’s so hot, even parts of the Arctic are on fire. Temperatures this month reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit well inside the Arctic Circle in Sweden, where the worst fires the country has seen in decades are now burning. More than 50 fires have ignited across the country, forcing evacuations. Finland and Norway are also fighting flames. “This is a serious situation and the risk for forest fires is extremely high in the whole country,” Jakob Wernerman, operative head of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, told the Associated Press. So far, no deaths from wildfires have been reported in Scandinavia, but Greece hasn’t been so fortunate. The country has declared a state of emergency as raging forest fires have killed at least 81 people and injured more than 190….The government suspects arsonists may be behind the fires. But there’s also been intense heat across Europe this summer, and climate scientists say we can expect more of this extreme weather with global  

1 in 5 SMEs clueless about Single Touch Payroll

Employers continuing to struggle with the reporting changeover by the relevant deadline can request a deferral from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Three Technologies Transforming the Legal Field

Law Technology Today: “Is your staff using analytics, blockchain and OCR yet? Corporations are ever-focused on their legal spend and demand more value from their outside counsel. Further disrupting the legal field are alternative legal service providers fueling the competitive landscape to become more crowded and innovative. 

Related: Facebook Stands to Lose Tens of Billions in Dozens of Lawsuits.


Hat Tip to Deep Bloggers - Web Guide for the New Economy 2018 – This new comprehensive guide to reliable and wide ranging resources on the New Economy by Marcus Zillman provides researchers who focus on law, finance and business sectors with many options from which to choose specific to sources of data, analytical information, statistics and knowledge published by the federal government, corporations, NGOs, nonprofits and subject matter experts as well as publishers. Zillman also includes Open Data Sets and databases that are available to the public.


Flexible working: innovations and issues
300 public service managers in four states reveal how they enable employees to work flexibly, when it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t.

Celebrities … are they just another Average Joe? A discussion of celebrity trade mark applications
Key points Celebrities often register their names as a trade mark particularly in the category of “entertainment services” in the US. Problems may arise where attempts are made to register in other categories, such as clothing, where same or similar competing applications may already exist. • There is enormous ... Read more

Key points
o Celebrities often register their names as a trade mark particularly in the category of "entertainment services" in the US. Problems may arise where attempts are made to register in other categories, such as clothing, where same or similar competing applications may already exist.
o There is enormous potential value of celebrity names when it comes to endorsement revenue and sponsorship deals. So trade marking a name may be considered part of an essential business strategy particularly in this age of social media where high profile people endorse products to their followers.
o There are various options available to an aggrieved trade mark owner alleging infringement of their trade mark under Australian law. These include common law passing off actions, defensive trade mark registrations and establishing that use of the new trade mark may cause confusion or deception amongst consumers with the existing trade mark.
Taylor Swift has done it. As have Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. And of course, Kim Kardashian wouldn't dream of being left behind (especially seeing as she's insured her behind for an amount that could probably feed a small nation).
Numerous other celebrities have jumped, or are leaping, onto this bandwagon. And now Australian's Thanasi Kokkinakis has done it amid much controversy.
We are talking about the celebrity registration of their names as trade marks.
A rose in any other category smells just as sweet?
Celebrities often register their names as a trade mark particularly in the category of entertainment services. In the US, if the applicant can establish that the public would recognise the name as a source identifier for products or services then the application is likely to be accepted.1
Problems can arise when the application is to register a trade mark for their name, or a portion of their name, in other goods or services such as those relating to collateral branding. This is especially so if same or similar trade marks are being used by other companies in these categories. Examples of categories for such registrations include cosmetics, clothing lines (SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker and Victoria Beckham), perfume (Paris Hilton and Britney Spears), accessories (Kardashian handbags and eyewear) and jewellery (who could forget about first daughter Ivanka Trump wearing her own "affordable" jewellery line during their first presidential family televised interview).
The fun doesn't stop with the adults apparently. Unlike a driving licence there is no minimum age limit one has to reach before striving to trade mark your fame. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, both famous singers in their own right, have registered their own names along with filing applications to trade mark the names of their twins Rumi Carter and Sir Carter. In 2012, their application to register the name of their first child, Blue Ivy, was not so successful. Although Blue Ivy may already be known worldwide, thanks to her famous parents, the application to register the trade mark with the view to spruik it in the future in a line of baby products was rejected.2 A Boston-based wedding planning company named Blue Ivy successfully defended its own pre-existing trade mark of the same name and prevented the celebrity couple from proceeding with their application. Not to be deterred, they instead filed an application for Blue Ivy Carter.3
There are plenty of examples of US celebrity trade mark applications but an interesting, and current, case closer to home involves our own South Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis and the well-known brand "Special K" owned by cereal giant Kellogg's.
Many of us tennis fans watched our favourite players sweat it out through the heat wave during the Australian Open this summer. Kokkinakis not only battled out a few rounds on that court but may also be about to do the same in a court of law.
Serving up a storm
TJ Kokkinakis Pty Ltd (Kokkinakis Co), a company purportedly owned by Kokkinakis's father Trevor, has applied for a trade mark "Special K" for use in his own sportswear range which includes clothing and apparatus for racquet sports and in services for organising sporting events.4 Kokkinakis's legal team claims that Special K is a nickname that the talented tennis player has become known by to the public. Kokkinakis is one of the few players to reach the ranks of the world's top 100 while still in his teens. It is also used to refer to Kokkinakis and his doubles partner, and friend, fellow Australian player Nick Kyrgios.
That may be the case. It is also the case that the trade mark is used by the well-known breakfast cereal owned by cereal and confectionary giant Kellogg's which is worth an estimated $34 billion.5 Kellogg's has had the trade mark registered since 1958 in class 30 (breakfast cereal and all other cereal foods). It also has later dated registrations covering the trade mark, and its other Special K cereals (such as Special K Nourish and Special K Advantage to name a few) in other categories to include its variety of breakfast products such as cereal bars and liquid breakfasts.6
Breakfast cereals and sporting apparatus are different classes of goods so one may ask why the concern exists, will there be a cause for confusion?
The Australian trade mark system is class-based. That is, trade marks are filed in relation to particular classes of goods or services. A trade mark is not generally accepted for registration where it is considered "deceptively similar" or "substantially identical" to an existing registered trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.
The law in Australia also recognises that trade marks with a reputation may cause a greater likelihood of confusion or association in the minds of consumers which can provide an increased opportunity for another party to register a similar or same trade mark to leverage off that reputation for their own commercial gain. Section 60 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) provides a layer of protection in this sort of circumstance by permitting a trade mark to be opposed on the ground that its use is similar or identical to one with a reputation and that use would likely deceive or cause confusion to a consumer.
There are two elements to the s 60 test, both of which the opponent must show are satisfied for it to be successful. The first element is evidencing that another party's trade mark, whether registered or unregistered, has acquired a reputation in Australia before the priority date of the applicant's trade mark. Secondly, in light of that reputation, the applicant's use of their trade mark would be likely to deceive or cause confusion.

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: Burned-out millennials are quitting lucrative jobs.
Sarah Solomon had a pretty sweet life. The 20-something publicist was always out at fashion events, dinners and parties — and even hung out with John Legend during Fashion Week.
“It was definitely New York glamourous — the black dress, leather pants and high heels, and an hour putting on my makeup,” says Solomon. “Anyone would think I had a really fun life, meeting cool people and celebrities.”
But she yearned for something more and resented only having two weeks of vacation a year. So, last August, she quit her seemingly great job at a plum downtown p.r. firm.
“I wanted to travel more — I didn’t want to have to ask for time off and grovel for extra days, you know?” says Solomon, now 25 and living in a rental house in Kauai, Hawaii, overlooking the beach.
Over the past 10 months, she’s scaled volcanoes in Guatemala, soaked up the waterfalls of Bali, Indonesia, and basked on glorious beaches halfway around the world. She gets by doing freelance p.r. work on the road, so long as she can get decent Wi-Fi in paradise.
Well, there you are.
Related: Stark images show people around the world toiling in deadly conditions from mines to volcanoes for as little as $1 a day.

Journalist Stephen Barrett to face court on alleged blackmail charges


Journalist and lawyer on tax fraud charges