According to the BBC, the Court of Appeal judges in London have denied Nestle’s attempts to trademark the shape of its famous four-fingered KitKat bar.
1. Which countries have granted Nestlé’s four-finger shape a trademark registration?
2. According to the article, why is it difficult to prove the case in U.K. courts?
3. Briefly discuss the “Chocolate Wars.”
4. How do you see this case impacting the company’s accounting records?
Neville, S. (2017). Nestle fails to trademark four-fingered KitKat shape. BBC.com, May 17 (Retrievable online at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39948718)
Tens of thousands of computer users around the world made the decision, to refuse to pay the anonymous hackers behind the ransomware attack known as WannaCry. The attackers had demanded that individuals pay up to $600 by Friday to regain control of their machines or face losing their data.
1. At the writing of this article, how much ransom has been paid so far?
2. What is the name of the anonymous group that posted the first batch of N.S.A. tools online?
3. According to experts, how powerful are these tools and how easy are these tools to use?
4. If you were working with accounting client data and received the Wannacry demand, what would you do?
Mozur,P., M. Scott, and V. Goelmay. (2017). Victims Call Hackers’ Bluff as Ransomware Deadline Nears. The New York Times, May 19 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/business/hacking-malware-wanncry-ransomware-deadline.html)
A little-noticed accounting change is coming down the pike that will have a major impact on business. According to the New York Times, this one has corporate executives up in arms — and scrambling to comply.
1. What is the title of the new FASB rule?
2. Which equity investments are affected?
3. How could the new standard curtail investments by large companies in smaller companies?
4. What are the significant accounting changes proposed?
5. Discuss whether you believe this standard will improve or impede transparency.
Cohan, W. (2017) A Little-Known Accounting Change Could Have a Big Impact. The New York Times, May 12 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/business/dealbook/a-little-known-accounting-change-could-have-a-big-impact.html?ref=dealbook)
According to CNN, America’s long-standing love affair with shopping at malls and department stores may be nearing an end.
1. Compare the drop in jobs at shopping mall retail stores Between 2001 and 2016 and those jobs at coal mines. What does this say?
2. What are the demographics of workers at shopping mall stores?
3. How does the number of store closings that have been announced so far this year compare with 2016?
4. What well-established companies did the article mention, who are either looking for a buyer or considering the move to go out of business?
Isidore, C. (2017) Department stores have lost more jobs than coal mines. CNN, May 12 (Retrievable online at http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/12/news/companies/retailers-dying/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
Apple became the first U.S. company to top the $800 billion mark in market capitalization on Tuesday, slightly more than two years after it crossed the $700 billion threshold.
1. How much have the iPhone maker’s shares have gained this year?
2. What percentage does Apple make up of the entire S&P 500 .SPX index?
3. How have stock buybacks boltered Apple’s stock?
4. What stake does Berkshire Hathaway have in Apple?
Reuters Staff. APPLE MARKET CAP PASSES $800 BILLION. Newsweek, May 10 (Retrievable online at http://www.newsweek.com/apple-market-cap-passes-800-billion-606628)
According to the Washington Post, Purdue has acquired the for-profit Kaplan University to extend its reach into online and adult education, which some see as an unusual move for a public institution.
1. What were the benefits to Purdue of acquiring Kaplan?
2. What are the potential downsides of this acquisition for Purdue?
3. What are the terms of the agreement?
4. What is the 90/10 rule mentioned in the article?
5. What are some of the past legal challenges against Kaplan?
Douglas-Gabriel, D. (2017) Purdue acquires for-profit Kaplan University. The Washington Post, April 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/27/purdue-acquires-for-profit-kaplan-university/?tid=hybrid_mostsharedarticles_1_na&utm_term=.a329d3c19334)
Puerto Rico has been facing huge debts and population loss for some time. However, in a historic move that will likely trigger a fierce legal battle, the island territory declared bankruptcy.
1. According to the article, what were the main debts it listed in its filing?
2. How many jobs and what amount of population has Puerto Rico lost since 2007?
3. What is the unemployment/under-employment rate and what amount of people are on Medicaid in Puerto Rico?
4. According to the article, What will happen to investors and pensioners in Puerto Rico?
Bomey, N. (2017). Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy. Here’s how it’s going to unfold. USA Today, May 3 (Retrievable online at https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/05/03/puerto-rico-bankruptcy/101243686/)
According to Lydia O’Neal with the International Business Times, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order urging the U.S. to “buy American,” in part by encouraging the Departments of Commerce and State to prioritize American firms when they dole out lucrative contracts.
Unfortunately, a report released last week found, that the direction may not fulfill Trump’s second stated goal, which is to “hire American,” because most of the top American companies winning government contracts outsource thousands of their jobs.
1. Of the 50 U.S. companies given the largest government contracts, how many shipped jobs overseas between 1995 and 2015?
2. Of the top 100 companies given the largest government contracts, receiving $176 billion in taxpayer funding in fiscal-year 2016, how many of these relied upon offshoring over those two decades?
3. Discuss the various positions offered in this article that would allow President Trump to put more weight behind his promises.
4. Do you agree or disagree that the “Buy American, Hire Americans” is a good strategy for the country in our global economy?
O’Neal, L. (2017). Buy American, Hire Abroad: Top US Contractors Are Outsourcing Jobs, Study Finds. The International Business Times, May 5 (Retrievable online at http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/buy-american-hire-abroad-top-us-contractors-are-outsourcing-jobs-study-finds)
According to Slate, last year, Congress authorized the Internal Revenue Service to use private debt collectors to go after unpaid tax liabilities—and this month, if you are one of the unfortunate, you may have already had the pleasure first-hand.
1. What is the pleasure that this article is referring to?
2. Has this been done before? When and what happened?
3. What percentage will collectors keep and how should both parties account for this percentage? Give journal entries, if possible.
Chodorow, A. (2017). The IRS is using Private Debt collectors again. And it may not end well.
According to The American Interest, local minimum wage hikes cause restaurants to leave or shut down and deter new ones from entering, according to a new Harvard Business School study of the San Francisco Bay Area restaurant industry that contradicts the orthodox liberal view that steeply raising the cost of unskilled labor will not affect jobs or hiring.
1. What did the study show about WHICH restaurants were forced to leave or shut down due to the rise in minimum wages?
2. What does this say about the clientele for these restaurants and the price of a good meal?
3. Do you agree or disagree with a policy to raise the minimum wage? Why or why not?
4. Do you agree with the author of this article? Why or why not?
Staff. (2017). Gentry Liberalism in San Francisco. The American Interest, April 19 (Retrievable online at https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/04/19/gentry-liberalism-in-san-francisco/)