Samsung seeks trademarks
Samsung Electronics Co has applied for US and South Korean trademarks for a watch that connects to the Internet in the latest sign that consumer technology companies see wearable devices as the future of their business. Samsung described “Samsung Galaxy Gear” as a wearable digital electronic device in the form of a wristwatch, wristband or bangle in its July 29 application with US Patent and Trademark Office. A month earlier, it applied for a “Samsung Gear” trademark in South Korea. The trademark applications did not show the shape of the products, but drawings from a Samsung design patent approved in May show a watch-like design with a flexible screen that curves around the wrist.
US, Japan hold talks
US and Japanese officials are holding talks in Tokyo to overcome obstacles to Japan’s ongoing participation in US-led efforts to forge a regional free-trade bloc. Acting Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler is heading the US side in talks that began yesterday on autos, insurance and non-tariff barriers to trade — sensitive issues that will require compromise if the 12 participating countries are to meet their year-end deadline for a deal. The US side is seeking unified standards for automotive and environmental safety and deregulation in insurance and investment. The talks are also expected to include discussion of royalties and conditions for bidding on public works projects.
Kaesong payouts approved
The Unification Ministry yesterday said the government had authorized a US$250 million compensation payout to companies based in the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, which was shut down due to surging military tensions in April. “Payment will begin Thursday,” ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said. The move is seen by some as presaging the permanent closure of Kaesong, after six rounds of fruitless negotiations on resuming operations.
Lenovo plans more outlets
Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) plans to open about seven more flagship stores in China by 2016 as the PC company accelerates its push into smartphones and tablets. The retail outlets will be company-owned and are planned for Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Chen Xudong (陳旭東), president of China operations for the ThinkPad maker, said on Tuesday. The first Lenovo location opened in Beijing last year, and the second opens on Saturday. The number of partner-owned shops exclusively selling all Lenovo products will also expand to 300 in the next three years from about 100 now, he said.
Ernst & Young hiring
Ernst & Young LLP plans to double its mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory staff in Japan over the next 12 months, betting the country’s cross-border deals and domestic mergers will increase in the coming five years. Ernst & Young Transaction Advisory Services Co plans to hire about 10 M&A bankers, including former employees at Wall Street and Japanese banks, said Tatsuya Hiramoto, head of the M&A advisory division. That will boost headcount to about 20. Hiramoto expects Japanese companies to seek more acquisitions and investments in Asia to counter limited demand growth at home. He said he wants to focus on advising retailers, consumer goods makers and automotive parts makers on outbound transactions.