The Canal Street Blog

Business-focused legal discussion

News Roundup 12/22-12/28: Tax-Cuts, Startup Accelerator, the Supreme Court, Price Fixing, Online (Drunk) Shopping, and Trademark Protection

Congress Passes Holiday Payroll Tax-Cut Extension
Congress passed a short term fix to extend the payroll taxes.  The Republican led House of Representatives was pushing for a plan that would include a full year extension but ended up settling for a short term measure which will provide benefits for 160 million workers including 40,000 unemployed workers in Washington state.

Microsoft Announces The Kinect Accelerator
Microsoft recently announced The Kinect Accelerator program, which is designed to incubate startups building the next generation of programs and applications for the Kinect. Applications for the accelerator program are being accepted now through January 25, 2012. The program is being conducted with assistance from TechStars which will grant the ten companies accepted into the accelerator program $20,000 in exchange for 6% equity.

Supreme Court Has Key Cases to Start 2012
The nation’s highest court is set to determine whether FCC anti-profanity rules constitute a breach of first amendment rights. The Supreme Court is also set to hear a key case on the scope of the EPA’s power under the Clean Water Act.

LCD Makers Settle Price Fixing Claims for $553 Million
Samsung, Sharp, and five other makers of LCD screens have agreed to a $553 million settlement with consumer and state regulatory claims. These claims alleged that the LCD makers conspired in fixing prices for TVs and computer monitors. The suits claimed that there was an international cartel created to inflate prices and stifle competition.

Louis Vuitton Sues Warner Bros. Over Use of Handbag Trademark in ‘The Hangover Part II’
Warner Bros. is being sued by famous handbag designer Louis Vuitton after the film production company used a knock off Louis Vuitton handbag in ‘The Hangover Part II’. Louis Vuitton is suing for trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition. The suit is seen as somewhat embarrassing for Warner Bros. as they frequently litigate to protect their own intellectual property rights. Louis Vuitton requested that Warner Bros. remove the scene from the DVD prior to the DVD’s release, and now are seeking a share of profits and damages.

New Online Holiday Shopping Record
This year online shoppers spent $35.3 billion dollars in the United States between Nov 1 and Dec 26. This new record is a 15% increase over sales during the same time period last year. $1.25 billion was spent on Cyber Monday alone. This increase may be partly due to a reportedly growing trend of drunk online shopping.