J&J happy case is over
Health care giant Johnson and Johnson (J&J) says it is pleased to put a legal dispute behind it after a court ordered it to pay compensation to a former distributor under an anti-monopoly law. Thursday’s ruling said the company was guilty of “vertical monopoly” for setting minimum prices its distributors charged for surgical sutures. It noted that J&J has stopped that practice, but ordered it to pay 530,000 yuan (US$85,000) to a local distributor that said it lost potential sales due to the restriction. Lawyers said the ruling indicates that authorities are stepping up anti-monopoly investigations. The ruling was the first of its kind against a Fortune 500 company under Beijing’s five-year-old anti-monopoly law, according to lawyers and local news reports.
Shipbuilding plan issued
The State Council issued a three- year plan to upgrade and restructure its troubled shipbuilding industry through 2015, a further move to stabilize economic growth through reform, Xinhua news agency reported. The sector faces “unprecedented, severe challenges” as a lack of new orders, due to weakness in the global shipping market, has exacerbated overcapacity in the industry, Xinhua said yesterday, citing a government document. At the same time, companies should be confident as “the potential in the domestic market remains relatively large,” it said. The world’s biggest shipbuilding nation may see a third of its more than 1,600 yards shut down in about five years, according to Wang Jinlian, head of the industry association. The sector is among those including iron and steel, cement, electrolytic aluminum and flat glass that must accelerate the phasing out of overcapacity, according to a July 24 statement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Games could cost more
Olympic organizers may have to use US$700 million in government money to meet the operating budget for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Leo Gryner, chief operating officer of the organizing committee, on Friday said that a shortfall might develop if local organizers fall behind in landing sponsors. “Right now as our budget stands we need this US$700 million,” Gryner said at news conference to mark the three-year countdown to the opening of the Olympics. He said the budget could be as much as US$4 billion — up from the original estimate of US$2.8 billion that was submitted before Rio won the Games in 2009.
Google seeks suit dismissal
Google Inc said Microsoft Corp acted too hastily in suing US customs officials in a patent dispute over whether Motorola Mobility phones should be blocked at the border. Google, in a court filing on Friday, asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by Microsoft that accused US Customs and Border Protection of failing to enforce an order to ban imports of the phones. Microsoft should instead have taken its complaint back to the International Trade Commission (ITC), Google said. Microsoft won an order from the ITC that prevents Google’s Motorola Mobility from shipping Asian-made phones that have a feature that synchronizes calendars between phones and computers. The suit is “an unprecedented attempt” to circumvent the administrative process, Google said. “Customs noted that the ITC has yet to consider, much less resolve, the issue Microsoft asks this court to decide: Whether Motorola’s use of Google’s synchronization protocol infringes Microsoft’s patent.”