The week’s news included; Lidl wins trademark lawsuit against Tesco over Clubcard logo, CBI in meltdown after sexual misconduct scandal, Fox to pay $787m to Dominion in defamation lawsuit.
Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page, Facebook page and Instagram Page, for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week:
- City A.M – Stop pitting home ownership against the rental market, we need both for Londoners
- CNBC – How HBO and Netflix have evolved away from each other in the past decade
- BBC News – What counts as workplace bullying?
- Sky News – Inflation rate rises – and why we’re still paying more on our mortgages
- City A.M. – In a global tech downturn, startups have a mountain to climb
1. LIDL WINS TRADEMARK LAWSUIT AGAINST TESCO
Lidl has won its trademark lawsuit against Tesco over its Clubcard logo. The discount retailer had claimed Tesco’s use of a yellow circle on a blue square background for its Clubcard infringed upon their trademark of this design. Lidl argued that Tesco intentionally used this design to give customers the impression that Tesco’s discounted Clubcard prices were comparable with Lidl’s. The High Court agreed with Lidl and found Tesco had taken unfair advantage of Lidl’s distinctive design, specifically regarding low prices. Judge Joanna Smith stopped short of agreeing with Lidl that Tesco used the design in bad faith. Lidl will now demand that Tesco changes its Clubcard logo. Tesco has said it will appeal the decision and request court permission to continue using the logo while the appeal is ongoing.
2. CBI MELTDOWN
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is in crisis and has suspended all its activities until June. The highly influential business lobby group is responsible for representing the interests of businesses in the UK on the political stage. Multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct at the organisation have surfaced exposing an endemic cultural problem at the organisation. The CBI had recently dismissed its former director-general, Tony Danker, over allegations of misconduct. After the most recent stories broke, a series of huge companies either suspended or terminated their CBI membership. Asda, AstraZeneca, BT, BMW, ITV, Meta, Mastercard and Natwest amongst others all announced their withdrawal.
The CBI has now suspended all activity and will hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss plans to restructure the organisation. This scandal could prove costly for the CBI as it relies entirely on the trust of its members. This has been severely damaged, if not broken altogther. Whether the restructure will restore trust remains to be seen.
3. FOX PAYS $787M TO DOMINION IN DEFAMATION CASE
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox corp is set to pay a huge $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a defamation case. Dominion sells voting machines and related software. Fox falsely accused Dominion of swaying the 2020 US election results in favour of Joe Biden with it’s voting machines. This was proven to be materially false and Dominion initially demanded $1.6 billion in damages. They argue their company and reputation suffered “enormous damage” due to Fox’s lies. Fox acknowledged that the claims made were false and is pleased to have reached a settlement. Fox broadcasters aren’t expected to make an on-air announcement or apology regarding the case. The settlement also means Rupert Murdoch avoids facing public questioning over the matter.
4. UK INFLATION
The rate of inflation in the UK was 10.1%, falling by 0.3% compared to last month. Food and drink costs have been soaring and are the driving force behind the sustained high inflation. Average inflation of food and drink prices hit a whopping 19.1% last month compared to the same month last year. This is the highest rate since August 1977. Some products such as olive oil and milk have risen by 49% and 34%, respectively. The Bank of England’s target rate is 2% so there is concern high interest rates will accompany high prices for an extended period to help settle inflation rates. There is hope however, as wholesale food prices have fallen in recent months so retailers expect this to translate into cheaper prices soon.
5. MAGAZINE SUED FOR AI GENERATED SCHUMACHER INTERVIEW
The moral and legal challenges of AI are beginning to come to light. An AI generated “interview” featuring the voice of Michael Schumacher was published in a German magazine, Die Aktuelle. Schumacher is a 7-time F1 champion but suffered severe brain damage in a skiing accident. He has not been seen in public since 2014. Die Aktuelle published a front cover with a picture of Schumacher and the headline: “Michael Schumacher, the first interview.” A brief strapline beneath then mentions that the quotes in the interview sound “deceptively real” as it becomes apparent they had been produced by AI. The family of Schumacher are now suing the publishing for the use of his likeness in this way. Die Aktuelle has issued a public apology to Schumacher’s family over the matter and has sacked its editor.
6. ROYAL MAIL PAY DEAL AGREED
A breakthrough seems to have been reached regarding the dispute between Royal Mail and its unionised workers. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are being recommended to accept a 10% pay rise over three years. The package also includes a one-off lump sum of £500. Furthermore, Royal Mail agreed not to impose compulsory redundancies. Changes to working conditions for new starters have also been agreed. The 115,000 CWU union members will be balloted on the deal in the coming weeks but the CWU believe this is a good deal. This would mark an end to the dispute that has been running for 12 months which saw a series of walkouts last year.
7. MUSK THREATENS TO SUE MICROSOFT
Elon Musk is threatening to sue Microsoft over its alleged use of Twitter data in its AI data training without authorization. This follows Microsoft’s decision to remove Twitter from its corporate advertising platform after Musk changed Twitter’s policies. Twitter now charged companies at least $100 per month for collecting user data through APIs. APIs (application programming interface) allow businesses to collect data, track user activity and provide targeted ads to users. Microsoft’s AI system helps businesses who advertise on their platform collect that data. With Microsoft unwilling to pay for this service, Musk claims their AI training on Twitter’s data was unlawful and tweeted “Lawsuit time” regarding the issue.
8. BUZZFEED & META CUT JOBS
The job cut cycle is continuing in the tech and media space. Meta and Buzzfeed both announced huge numbers of job cuts. Buzzfeed is shutting down its news department entirely as the company plans to make mass redundancies across the business. A slump in advertising revenue, user traffic and the wider economy has created a cocktail of disasters for Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed rose to prominence during the early 2010’s and produced articles and quizzes which went viral on Twitter and Facebook. It was valued at almost $1 billion in 2014 and won a Pulitzer prize for its reporting. As social media shifted towards video-focused content on TikTok and Instagram, Buzzfeed lost much of its appeal. When it listed on the stock exchange in 2021, it was worth just $100 million. Now, 180 redundancies will be made across Buzzfeed alongside the closure of Buzzfeed news.
Meta also announced that 10% of its UK workforce will be axed. This forms part of its wider plan to cut over 10,000 jobs. The tech giant is attempting to stabilise itself as the wider economy weakens.
9. ACCOUNTING JOB CUTS
Both Deloitte and EY are slashing thousands of jobs in the US. EY will cut 3000 jobs as part of a strategic review of the business. This amounts to roughly 5% of its workforce. No cuts are expected in the UK. This follows the decision to scrap proposals to separate their consulting and audit businesses globally (see previous top 10). EY has stressed that this decision was not linked to the job cuts.
Deloitte will also cut 1200 staff in the US, amounting to 1.5% of its workforce. Many of these cuts will fall in the financial advisory division. Client demand has sunk due to concerns about the wider economic outlook. Merger and acquisition activities enjoyed a boom over the past few years but this is now dwindling.
10. ASDA TRIALS DRIVERLESS DELIVERY
Asda is trialling the use of driverless delivery vehicles in West London. The supermarket will randomly select customers ordering from its Park Royal store to have their goods delivered by self-driving cars. The scheme is in conjunction with autonomous vehicle tech firm Wayve. Each delivery will see an Asda worker and Wayve expert on board. Goods will still be unloaded by the Asda staff members. In the long term, driverless cars could reduce the need for highly trained drivers to carry out deliveries or at least provide easier deliveries for drivers. The trial will last 12 months and cover a 72,000 household catchment area in West London.