The European Patent Office (EPO) granted a record number of European patents in 2016, while the US led the charge for applications. According to a report released on Tuesday, the EPO granted 96,000 European patents in 2016, an increase of 40% year-on-year, which is due to “effective measures” to improve the EPO’s productivity. “The figure is an indicator of the growing demand for patent protection from businesses worldwide,” said the EPO. It also recorded an “unprecedented” level of patent filings in 2016, reaching more than 296,000, an increase of 6.2% compared with 2015.
Nestlé Austria has announced plans to close its production facility in Linz by March 2018, as part of an 'ongoing evaluation' of its portfolio. The factory, which has been operating for nearly 140 years with an output of roughly 6,000 tonnes of food products, has been effected by changing consumer trends which have affected demand. The factory in Linz specialised in products for its business to business division. On 7 March, the management informed the plant's 127 employees of the decision, and is collaborating with the Works Council and employee representatives to find 'socially acceptable solutions'.
General Motors will cut production and eliminate 1,100 workers at a plant in Michigan as it shifts production of a sport utility vehicle model to another factory in Tennessee. Most are hourly workers, with about 14 salaried. The Lansing Delta Township plant will cease output of GMC Acadia SUVs on May 12, Tom Wickham. About 800 new jobs were created in that state as a result - and GM announced in January that it was adding a third shift in Spring Hill.
Luxury estate agent Knight Frank and research firm Wealth-X have released their annual report on where the ultra-wealthy are snapping up property across the world. The list focuses on high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) — those with $30 million or more in net assets – and examines their migration patterns. The report notes: “The latest data on HNWI migration confirms the strong and growing attraction of Australia, the US and Canada as destinations for the footloose wealthy. “Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne top the list of growth markets,” it adds.
High-end Swiss chocolatier and confectionery company Lindt & Sprüngli grew at a faster pace than the overall chocolate market last year, according to the company’s latest financial results. Although the group is at the top end of the market, which would give it some margin for manoeuvre on prices, the race to cut costs within the industry still took its toll.
The Vatican has issued new figures showing it narrowed its deficit by half in 2015 to 12.4 million euros. That compares with a deficit of €25.6 million in 2014. The Vatican released the figures for 2015 but didn’t include fuller details as it has in previous years, citing a transition in its financial accounting system that also delayed disclosure of the 2015 figures.
The Boards of Standard Life plc (“Standard Life”) and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (“Aberdeen”) are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen, to be effected by means of a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement between Aberdeen and the Aberdeen Shareholders under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 (the “Merger”). The Combined Group will in due course be branded to incorporate the names of both Standard Life and Aberdeen.
Switzerland is viewed as the No. 1 overall country, according to the 2017 Best Countries report, a joint rankings and analysis project from U.S. News & World Report, Y&R's BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. People regard the European country highly for its citizenship, being open for business, an environment that encourages entrepreneurship, the quality of life it provides its citizens and for its cultural influence. The rankings evaluate 80 countries – up from 60 last year – across a range of criteria, from power and economic influence to citizenship and quality of life, to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.
Jeff Bezos, co-founder of Amazon and owner of Blue Origin, a private space firm looking to rival SpaceX, is hoping to help humanity establish a colony on the moon by delivering supplies there. An internal report from Blue Origin was obtained by the Washington Post, which Mr Bezos also owns, and outlines the space travel firm’s plans for future missions. Mr Bezos says he now want to create a delivery service to our nearest satellite. He explained that NASA need to create “incentives to the private sector to demonstrate a commercial lunar cargo delivery service”.
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