Chinese hotels dump Penfolds over trademark dispute; LinkedIn stung $US6 million for underpaying staff: Midday Roundup

Chinese hotels dump Penfolds over trademark dispute; LinkedIn stung $US6 million for underpaying staff: Midday Roundup

Treasury Wine Estates’ trademark battle in China has taken another twist, with a global hotel chain dropping its iconic Penfolds brand over litigation fears.

In the latest twist to the saga, the Australian Financial Review reports the Intercontinental Hotel chain is dropping the iconic Australian wine brand from its 214 hotels across China, citing “legal advice”.

The contract is estimated to be worth around 5000 cases each year, representing around 5% of Penfolds total shipments to China.

As SmartCompany previously reported, Treasury Wine Estates has been embroiled in a legal dispute with lawful owner of Penfolds’ Chinese name, ‘Ben Fu’, which has been registered locally by a man named Li Daozhi.

The brand squatter previously won $5.8 million in a trademark infringement lawsuit against French winemaker Castel.

LinkedIn stung $US6 million for underpaying staff overtime

Social media giant LinkedIn has been ordered to pay $US6 million ($AUD6.45 million) in unpaid overtime and damages, after underpaying 359 employees over a two-year period.

The massive payment was ordered by the US equivalent to Australia’s Fair Work Commission, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

In total, LinkedIn was found to have underpaid its staff in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York $US3,346,195, with the company slugged with a $US2,509,646 fine for “liquidated damages”.

Under US industrial relations law, employees are required to be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours they worked, plus time and a half for any hours they work beyond 40 per week.

In a statement, the Department of Labor praises LinkedIn for cooperating with investigators, and agreeing to enter into an “enhanced compliance” agreement.

“We are particularly pleased that LinkedIn also has committed to take positive and practical steps towards securing future compliance,” Wage and Hour Division David Weil says.

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CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner says weak lead from international markets has dictated a negative tone for our market this morning.

“The market impact of reports that Russia is considering sanctions against European airlines and also massing troops on the Ukraine border has been heightened because it comes at a time when there is downward momentum in markets anyway,” Spooner says.

The ASX200 was down 0.3%, or 16.5 points, to 5502.1 at 12:33 PM. The Dow Jones has closed down 0.84%, or 139.81 points, to 16429.5.

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