Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ CopyrightsStarbucks to sue `imitator'

Coffee shop giant Starbucks is suing a Shanghai coffee shop for allegedly stealing its logo, a news report said yesterday. The US chain says it is taking its case to court after warning the Shanghai Xingbake Cafe for four years not to use Starbucks' distinctive circular green and black logo. Starbucks, which has 83 coffee shops in China, filed for trademark infringement after the coffee shop opened a second outlet in Shanghai using the same logo. However, the South China Morning Post reported that the coffee shop denied any infringement of Starbucks' trademark and insisted it would not change its name. The lawsuit is being handled by Starbucks' Hong Kong-based law firm Baker & Mackenzie and will be heard by the Second Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai, the newspaper said.

■ Beverages

Coca-cola denies fraud

The Coca-Cola Company Friday dismissed fresh accusations it inflated sales figures by shipping surplus beverage concentrate to domestic and overseas bottlers. The world's top soft drink maker was responding to a Wall Street Journal article quoting three former executives who said they witnessed a scam in which Coca-Cola sent the larger-than-needed quantities of concentrate to the bottlers. A Coca-Cola spokesman told reporters there was no basis for the accusations. In 2000, a group of Coca-Cola stockholders filed suit against the company accusing it of shipping a 600-million-dollar surplus of concentrate to bottlers in Japan, North America, Europe and South Africa.

■ Stocks

Jakarta probes irregularities

Indonesia is probing allegations that the local stock market's strong performance in recent months was driven by criminals laundering money through the exchange, a news report said yesterday. Yunus Husein, chairman of the Financial Transaction and Report Analysis Center, said his agency has launched a money laundering investigation in connection with the Jakarta Stock Exchange which reached all-time highs earlier this month. "We don't have any numbers yet but we did receive reports on the matter and an investigations is already under way," Husein said according to The Jakarta Post. Husein could not be reached for further comment. The stock market is up 8 percent this year, after rising 63 percent last year. The bourse was Southeast Asia's second leading performer last year behind Thailand.

■ Airlines

Ryanair loses court battle

Ryanair said Friday it would increase its ticket prices after a London court ruled in favor of a disabled man who sued the low-cost Irish carrier for charging him for a wheelchair. Bob Ross, 55, who suffers from cerebral palsy claimed the £18 (US$32) fee he was charged at Stansted airport near London in 2002 was discriminatory. The Central London County Court ruled in his favor and ordered Ryanair to pay £1,336, amounting to twice £18 for the outward and home journeys, £300 for a wheelchair subsequently bought by Ross and £1,000 for injury to his feelings. Disabled groups welcomed the ruling, but a Ryanair spokesman said it was "defective." The company would in future charge every passenger £0.50 to meet the cost of providing wheelchair assistance.

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