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Hasbro sues maker of Ghettopoly game


Hasbro Inc., the maker of the Monopoly board game, filed a lawsuit seeking to block sales of the board game Ghettopoly, calling it a "highly offensive" knockoff. The suit was filed in US District Court in Rhode Island after the Ghettopoly creator refused to stop selling the game, the company said. Monopoly, created by Parker Brothers in 1935, is the world's best-selling board game. David Chang of St. Mary's, Pa., created a game in which players buy stolen property, pay protection fees, and get carjacked. Game pieces include a gun and marijuana leaf. Hasbro says the game uses the basic layout of Monopoly, without Boardwalk and Park Place, and without permission. (Bloomberg)

Fidelity raises stake in Indian drug maker

Fidelity Investments, through its international funds, has amassed an ownership share of more than 5 percent in the second-largest Indian drug manufacturer, Dr. Reddy Laboratories, which has specialized in making copies of US-developed drugs but is now growing into a global pharmaceutical company in its own right. Analysts said the investments, built over the past two years, signal a broader foreign interest in the Indian stock market and in Indian drug manufacturers. (Christopher Rowland)


Text messaging to have one format

Major US wireless telecommunications carriers have agreed on a plan to promote text-messaging technology for subscribers to participate in sweepstakes, product discount offers, entertainment voting, and other promotions. All six national carriers and several large regional carriers will use a system of common five-digit codes that subscribers of any carrier can use. Until now, codes have usually been limited to a single carrier. The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association said Neustar Inc., which runs major US phone number databases, will run the five-digit service. More than 100 million Americans have cellphones that can send text messages, the CTIA said. (Peter J. Howe)

Chinese trade practices in spotlight

Evans The Bush administration plans to vigorously pursue China's unfair trade practices, with the piracy of copyrighted computer programs high on the list of issues that will be raised next week, a top Commerce Department official said. Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas, facing tough questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the House International Relations Committee, tried to reassure lawmakers that the administration was dealing with the ballooning trade deficit with China. He and Commerce Secretary Don Evans are visiting there next week. One of the key complaints of American manufacturers is that China is undervaluing its currency, giving Chinese products a competitive advantage of as much as 40 percent against US manufactured goods. Last year's deficit with China hit a record high $103 billion. (AP)

Ex-Tyco treasurer accuses Kozlowski

The former treasurer of Tyco International Ltd. told a New York jury that Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz made unauthorized changes to loan programs the two men are accused of plundering when they ran the company. Kozlowski, the former chief executive, and Swartz, who was chief financial officer, didn't get approval from the board of directors to make changes in loan and relocation programs for top executives, said Barbara Miller, who was treasurer until Kozlowski fired her in 1998. Kozlowski and Swartz are on trial in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on charges they stole $170 million from the company by corrupting Tyco loan programs. The two men in 1995 added perks to the relocation program that allowed executives moving to Tyco's new corporate headquarters in New York to buy more than one house with money lent by the company, Miller said. (Bloomberg)

Investor confidence index up in Oct.

Institutional investors were slightly more confident in October when they expressed greater interest in buying higher-risk securities, according to data released by State Street Corp. The Boston financial services company's think tank unit, State Street Associates, said its Investor Confidence index rose to 104.2 in October from a revised level of 102.5 in September. State Street Associates said the data also suggest that investors are confident about the future economic environment. (Reuters)

Surveys see more consumer spending

US consumers are planning to spend more on gifts, greeting cards, and other holiday goods this year than they did a year ago, bolstering hopes of a sustainable economic recovery, according to two surveys. The National Retail Federation trade group said consumers on average are budgeting $671.89 for this holiday season, up about 3.6 percent from a year ago. The federation has forecast a 5.7 percent increase in holiday sales, taking into account factors such as impulse buying that increase actual spending. That would be the biggest increase since 1999. Last year's holiday season generated the smallest sales gain in more than 30 years. A separate survey by tax and consulting firm Deloitte found that for the first time since 2000, US consumers are planning to spend more than they did the prior year. Deloitte estimated total holiday spending would increase in the 6 to 7 percent range. (Reuters)

FCC to regulate TV sent over Internet

Regulators in coming weeks will adopt strict limits on sending digital television programs over the Internet to avoid the problems now plaguing the music industry, US officials said. The Federal Communications Commission will likely adopt rules to allow programmers to attach a code to digital broadcasts that will in most cases bar consumers from sending copies of popular shows around the world, said the officials, who declined further identification. The approval, expected as early as next week, would be another step along the long road to the higher-quality, crisper digital signals, which have been slowed because of worries about piracy, high-priced equipment, and limited available programming. An agency spokeswoman declined to comment on when the five commissioners would vote on the issue. (Reuters)

Two NYSE seats sell at depressed price

Two New York Stock Exchange seats sold for $1.35 million each, the lowest price in almost five years after the exchange's largest floor-trading firm reported an 88 percent slide in quarterly net income. The price is a 27 percent decline from the last sale of $1.85 million on Sept. 18 and the lowest since December 1998. "It's a kick in the pants," said George Morris, 73, a retired arbitrager who earned $206,000 renting out his seat in the past year. Last week, the NYSE said it would seek "substantial fines" from five specialist firms for violating trading rules. Yesterday, LaBranche & Co., one of the five and owner of 39 seats on the NYSE, said net income fell to $2.3 million from $19.8 million a year earlier. (Bloomberg)

Motorola says chip system to cut costs

Motorola Inc.'s semiconductor business will unveil a postage stamp-sized integrated circuit today and claims it will cut the costs of making wireless devices by 40 to 50 percent. The new system -- the heart of a smart wireless platform -- can be designed into gadgets from personal digital assistants to MP3 players and handheld DVD players. By reducing size, power consumption, and part count, Motorola claims the simplified technology will open new markets for a next generation of consumer devices. Called Mobile Extreme Convergence architecture, samples of the circuitry will be available by the middle of next year. The first devices using the chips are expected in 2005. (Knight Ridder)

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