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Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Banking
Banks leave S Korea

Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings Plc will pull their Internet banking centers out of South Korea and transfer them to Hong Kong and Singapore, Maeil Business Newspaper said, citing unidentified industry officials. Citigroup's lending unit will move its Internet banking center to Singapore in March, and HSBC will complete its move to Hong Kong by the end of the year, the newspaper said. The move suggests overseas financial institutions may consider South Korea's infrastructure for information technology behind those of Singapore and Hong Kong, the newspaper said. Deutsche Bank AG, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas have already moved their Seoul centers to Hong Kong, it said.

■ Media

Reuters moves to Bangkok

Information provider Reuters is to move a third of its software engineers to Bangkok in the latest corporate outsourcing of jobs to the Far East. Reuters' 2,000 employees in 60 software development units around the world will be concentrated in four cities: London, Paris, St Louis and Bangkok. At least 600 employees will be moved to Bangkok by the end of next year. Chief executive Tom Glocer told City bankers last month that each staff member there cost the company £14,000 a year, against £80,000 in the US. The shift will involve redundancies around the world. "It is likely there will be some job cuts in the UK," a spokesperson said. They are part of the 3,000 job losses already announced by the company.

■ Patents

`Shock and Awe' is a hit

From condoms to coffees, a wave of trademark applications using "Shock and Awe" in their names is hitting the US Patent and Trademark Office. Seven months after the most overused cliche of the Iraq War entered American jargon, a Patent Office official said on Thursday it had received 29 "Shock and Awe" applications. There are filings to trademark golf clubs, pesticides, dietary supplements, video games, salsa, energy drinks, yo-yos, lingerie, Bloody Mary mix and "infant action crib toys." "The last thing I can remember like this was for using the terms Millennium or Y2K," said Brigid Quinn, spokeswoman for the Patent Office, which oversees trademark law. None of the "Shock and Awe" applications is registered yet -- not even the five to trademark fireworks brands. "Each will be reviewed one by one on their own merit," Quinn said.

■ Electronics

School sues Sony, Toshiba

Sony Corp, maker of the world's best-selling PlayStation game console, and Toshiba Corp are being sued in the US by a university that says chips in the device infringe on patents filed by two of its professors in 1986. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which owns patents on behalf of the University of Wisconsin, filed suit this week to stop Sony from using the chips, part of the central processing unit, or "emotion engine," of the PlayStation 2 game console, according to a filing submitted to district court in Wisconsin. The foundation seeks an undisclosed amount in damages. The suit comes the same week Sony said operating profit at its games division fell 91 percent during the second quarter ended Sept. 30. Competition from Microsoft Corp's Xbox console has meant Sony's game division contributed 6.6 percent to group operating profit in the quarter, down from 49 percent a year ago.

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