Morning Business Memo:
A win for Samsung over Apple in the latest round of their international patent war. A British high court judge ruled the design of its Galaxy tablet isn’t cool enough to be confused with an iPad. The lawsuit is over intellectual property and design, and whether Samsung illegally copied Apple. Britain’s Guardian newspaper says the ruling, by Judge Colin Birss, means that Apple cannot stop the import or sale of the Galaxy Tab 10 under claims it has made that the designs are too close to those of the iPad. Instead, Judge Birss ruled that Samsung’s designs did not have the same understated and extreme simplicity of the Apple design: “They are not as cool.” In a similar battle in the US, Samsung scored a partial victory after a federal appeals court lifted a ban on sales of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. But the court upheld a lower court’s decision to temporarily halt sales of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet.
Some homeowners have been forced out of their properties because they owe as little as $400 in back taxes, according to The National Consumer Law Center. It says outdated state laws allow big banks and other investors to reap windfall profits by buying the houses for a pittance and reselling them. The center says states should update laws so speculators can’t profit from misinformed homeowners and people who have difficulty managing their finances. Another recommendation: state governments should make it easier for homeowners to retake their homes after tax lien sales.
Confused about the terms of your mortgage? The government has proposed new rules to help Americans understand the costs and risks of getting a home loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is out with redesigned forms that mortgage borrowers would get after applying for a loan but before closing on the house. “When making what is likely the biggest purchase of their life, consumers should be looking at paperwork that clearly lays out the terms of the deal,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said in remarks prepared for a speech in Las Vegas.
High fees may be taking a big bite out of your 401(k) plan. Many savers are paying about 1 percent a year in mutual fund management fees, and over time they can really add up. Soon it will be easier to find out the cost to your savings: “Finally we’ve got legislation that requires disclosure of 401(k) fees,” says Bill Harris, CEO of the money management firm Personal Capital. The new law on fund fees is expected to require disclosures by the fall. “That’s great because for a long time people have been paying far too much.” But Harris also says the law could be improved to provide more clarity about the impact of fees on your 401(k). “It will only be general it will be buried in lots of fine print.”
Eurozone finance ministers have come up with the terms of a bailout for Spain’s troubled banks, saying that almost $37 billion can be ready by end of this month. But they’ll need approval of their governments before returning to Brussels on July 20 to finalize the agreement. Spanish banks have been weakened by toxic loans from a collapsed property market. Yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds fell below 7 percent after the agreement was announced.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc