Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Key Supreme Court victory for Booking.com could have ripple effects across the internet

begin quote from:Key Supreme Court victory for Booking.com could have ripple effects across the internet

Supreme Court sides with Booking.com in key trademark case

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court sided with Booking.com on Tuesday, green-lighting the booking accommodations website to trademark the generic term associated with their domain name.
It's a key victory that could have ripple effects for businesses across the internet.
The court's 8-1 decision held that adding ".com" to a generic word can make the entire combination eligible for trademark protection.
"We have no cause to deny Booking.com the same benefits Congress accorded other marks qualifying as nongeneric," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion.
    Booking.com had filed to register its name at the US Patent and Trademark Office. But the office initially denied the registration, arguing that generic names are not eligible for trademark protection.
    The Booking.com case was the Supreme Court's first oral argument ever conducted over the phone, a change of procedure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent that the policy of trademarking the generic term is "inconsistent with trademark principles and sound trademark policy."
    "By making such terms eligible for trademark protection, I fear that today's decision will lead to a proliferation of 'generic.com' marks, granting their owners a monopoly over a zone of useful, easy-to-remember domains," Breyer wrote.
      During arguments, lawyers for the Patent and Trademark Office asserted that the use of generic terms in business names cannot be protected as trademarks, and therefore, even if a generic term has taken on a secondary meaning, it should not be able to be trademarked.
      Lawyers for Booking.com argued in their brief that their client needs trademark protection "to prevent competitors from opening storefront Booking.com travel agencies, or from diluting its brand by selling Booking.com-themed travel products in airport shops."

      Putin set to get his new constitution. But Russians ask, ‘Why now?’

      Russia is expected to approve a raft of constitutional reforms that will allow Putin to stay in office until 2036. But it is ...

      Biden widens his lead, but Trump keeps the edge on enthusiasm

      begin quote from:Exclusive USA TODAY poll: Biden widens his lead, but Trump keeps the edge on enthusiasm

      Exclusive USA TODAY poll: Biden widens his lead, but Trump keeps the edge on enthusiasm
      President Donald Trump is falling further behind Democrat Joe Biden in the race for the White House, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll finds – but the president's real opponent seems to be himself.
      Donald Trump, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: President Donald Trump's supporters remain committed, though former Vice President Joe Biden leads in a new poll.© USA TODAY Network President Donald Trump's supporters remain committed, though former Vice President Joe Biden leads in a new poll.
      Opposition to Trump is by far the biggest factor propelling support for Biden, including among those who are lukewarm to the presumptive Democratic nominee. 
      Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points, 53%-41%, the nationwide survey shows. In a three-way ballot test, including a third-party line, Biden leads the Republican incumbent 46%-37%.
      Trump continues to hold a significant edge when it comes to enthusiasm among his supporters, an important factor in turning out voters. Half of Trump backers say they are "very excited" about their candidate, almost double the 27% of Biden backers who say that.
      "Biden is a return to the status quo but it's better than the direction we've been heading," says James Pehrson, 23, a Democrat from Fairfax, Virginia, who was among those polled.
      "I am not crazy enthusiastic about Biden as a candidate," he says, but Trump is "not fit" for the presidency.
      In contrast, Hannah Driskill, 32, a third grade teacher from Cabot, Arkansas, says she "will 110% vote" for Trump because of his stance on law and order and his record on the economy. "He's done great things for our country," the Republican says in a follow-up phone interview.
      The survey asked voters to volunteer a word or two about why they support their candidate. For Trump, 20% cite the economy or jobs; 13% say he is doing a good job in office; 12% say they agree with him on issues. Those top reasons are all tied to the president and his performance.
      For Biden, 44% say they are casting a vote against Trump. The second-ranking reason, at 8%: "Need a change." Those top reasons are all tied to the president, too.
      By a narrow 45%-41%, those surveyed predict Biden will defeat Trump in November. "They have seen this movie before, and their doubts about the outcome are rooted in the 2016 general election," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center. Then, Democrat Hillary Clinton led in national polls but lost the White House to Trump. 
      The poll of 1,000 registered voters, taken by landline and cellphone Thursday through Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 
      The findings underscore the imperative for Biden to articulate a clear agenda for the country and to generate more enthusiasm among Democratic groups, including young people. His choice of a running mate and his performance in the fall debates could be crucial opportunities to do that. 
      In the poll, Black voters are more likely than white voters to say they are "very excited" about their candidate, 36% compared with 29%. Among young voters in both parties, just 16% of those under 25 and 23% of those 25 to 34 report being "very excited." Among seniors, that number rises to 50%.
      The findings have a warning flare for Republicans down the ballot. Asked about their vote for Congress in November, 51% of those surveyed say they are inclined to support an unnamed Democratic candidate; 37% say they are inclined to support an unnamed Republican.

      Biden picks up support; Trump's support barely budges 

      Biden, waging a campaign constrained by concerns about the coronavirus, improved his standing since the USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll in the spring. His support has ticked up 3 points in the two-way ballot test and 2 points in the three-way ballot.
      Trump's support has barely budged, down a single point since April in the three-way ballot and up a single point in the two-way ballot, more evidence of the rock-solid standing among his base he has demonstrated since he was elected four years ago.  
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      Opposition to the president has also hardened amid criticism of his handling of COVID-19 and his response to demonstrations demanding racial justice and changes in policing. While 22% "strongly" approve of the job the president is doing, more than twice as many, 46%, "strongly" disapprove. That's a jump from April, when 37% "strongly" disapproved.
      US coronavirus map: Tracking the outbreak
      Overall, 40% approve of Trump's performance, 58% disapprove.
      On both the pandemic and the protests, the poll shows the president out of step with the views of most Americans.
      "Our country still has problems, and it's not the problems that Trump has talked about," says Jacob Walker, 44, an independent voter from Auburn, California. He leans toward the GOP but plans to vote for Biden in November. "It's different kinds of problems that we need to face that I think Biden will, probably not perfectly, face ... far better."
      On handling the coronavirus, those surveyed overwhelmingly say Biden would do a better job than Trump, 57%-33%. 
      Asked about the national political conventions  next month, most Americans oppose the decision by Republicans to stage a traditional rally in Jacksonville, Florida, for Trump to accept the GOP nomination, despite the pandemic. That is called "reckless and dangerous" by 54% of those surveyed, including more than one in three Republicans.
      Half that number, 27%, say Democrats made a mistake in moving largely toward a "virtual" convention anchored in Milwaukee, saying it will "cost them an opportunity to generate enthusiasm and organize supporters." One in four Democrats call that decision a mistake.

      'I don't like the Twitter machine' 

      On handling race relations, Americans by 2-1, 59%-30%, say Biden would do a better job than Trump.
      The president has characterized the protesters brought to the streets by the Black Lives Matter movement as "thugs" and "anarchists" and vowed to crack down on them. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed say the protesters are "going too far." A 52% majority call the protests "an appropriate response to racial matters in the United States."
      Patrick Dohogne, 56, an executive with a construction company in Hartland, Wisconsin, supports peaceful protests but has been dismayed by violence he has seen at some. A Republican, he praises Trump's record on appointing conservative judges, reducing federal regulations and cutting taxes, and he plans to vote for the president in November.
      But he adds, referring to Trump's provocative tweets, "I don't like the Twitter machine; I never have. ," Dohogne says of Trump's provocative tweets. "That is the negative part of him I don't particularly care for," though he says it shouldn't be surprising. "He was a showman-type person; he is a stereotypical New Yorker, kind of outspoken and what-not."
      If Biden wins, he is likely to have "a heck of a time" in trying to pull the country together, Dohogne predicts. 
       "I think it's going to be very hard, whoever gets elected, to try and reach out and try to promote bipartisanship and try to promote the country coming back a little more to the mainstream in the middle," he says. "I firmly believe that needs to happen."

      Big issues? Biden better on handling 6 of 7, say those surveyed

      Asked about seven major issues facing the nation, those surveyed say by double digits that Biden would do a better job in handling six of them: race relations, the COVID-19 pandemic, health care, immigration, national security and dealing with China. 
      Americans split on the seventh issue, the economy: 47% say Trump would do a better job, 45% say Biden would.
      There is a similar divide when asked whether each candidate has demonstrated seven traits of leadership: can get things done; cares about people like you; honest and trustworthy; can bring the nation together; will keep his promises; has a vision for the country; and has the right experience to be president.
      Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump receives a positive rating for one leadership characteristic: having "a vision for the country."© Provided by USA TODAY President Trump receives a positive rating for one leadership characteristic: having "a vision for the country."
      Trump receives a positive rating on just one of them: having "a vision for the country." By 54%-43%, those surveyed say the president has demonstrated that characteristic. They split evenly over whether he can "get things done." By double digits, they give him negative ratings on the other five traits. 
      Trump's worst rating is on whether he can "bring the nation together." By 69%-27%, those surveyed say he hasn't demonstrated that characteristic.
      Biden receives a positive rating on all seven issues. By double-digit margins, those surveyed say he could bring the country together, has a vision for the country, "cares about people like you" and can get things done. By 9 points, they say he would keep his promises and that he is honest and trustworthy.
      Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Former Vice President Joe Biden receives a positive rating on all seven key traits of leadership, including keeping promises, honesty and trustworthiness and having a vision for the country.© Scott Olson, Getty Images Former Vice President Joe Biden receives a positive rating on all seven key traits of leadership, including keeping promises, honesty and trustworthiness and having a vision for the country.
      Two-thirds of those surveyed, 67%, say Biden, a former vice president, has "the right experience to be president." Thirty-seven percent say that of Trump, who has been president for 3½ years.
      "I'm actually very excited about (the election) with hope that Donald Trump will be reelected," says Arlynn Garcia, 71, a retiree and independent voter from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. 
      She worries there is "something in the air" that has made the times uncertain.
      "Everything is political. You don't know what to trust any more." she says. "So I'm really nervous about it."

      ‘We’re invisible’: Peru’s moment of reckoning on informal workers

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      ‘We’re invisible’: Peru’s moment of reckoning on informal workers


      For two decades, Peru charted its own success story, as millions joined the middle class. But challenges delivering lockdown relief are highlighting just how partial that success has truly been. Part 2 of “One pandemic, many safety nets: A global series.
      Rodrigo Abd/AP
      Street vendors selling their products, ignoring lockdown measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, wait for clients as mounted policemen patrol in La Victoria district of Lima, Peru, June 19, 2020.


      • QUICK READ
      • DEEP READ ( 5 MIN. )
      When Luis David Arias Gutiérrez first learned of Peru’s strict coronavirus lockdown, the Lima-based street vendor supported it.
      Sure, it would be tough. Like the staggering 70% of Peruvian workers that labor in the informal sector, the notebook and school-supply salesman lived largely day to day, without much savings to fall back on. But the government, it seemed, knew what it was asking of workers like him.
      Peru set a global example of quick action in the face of COVID-19, implementing a nationwide lockdown March 16, soon after its first confirmed case. The government invested in respirators and hospital beds, and offered bonuses to medical professionals. It designed an economic relief package that not only offered low-interest loans to businesses and helped employers keep workers on payrolls, but also targeted the poor, vulnerable, and self-employed with vital cash transfers.
      But today, more than three months later, Mr. Arias feels tricked.
      “The state hasn’t done anything to help me. Not with cash transfers, not with food donations,” says Mr. Arias, who previously earned about $14 a day.
      Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.
      He made it through one and a half months of lockdown before heading back to the streets. He and hundreds of other vendors on the block had their wares confiscated by municipal officials, and were told that to get them back, they would need to pay a set fine for breaking the lockdown, which, for some vendors, was double the value of the merchandise itself.
      “When the option is to die of hunger or hope that this illness doesn’t get you, of course you break quarantine to try and feed your family,” he says. As leader of a local informal street merchant association, he knows scores of vendors who have fallen ill. Public markets have become hot spots, with nearly 8 in 10 vendors testing positive in one fruit market alone.
      Rodrigo Abd/AP
      Volunteers peel potatoes for a stew at a soup kitchen organized by residents in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood of Lima, Peru, June 8, 2020, amid the country's economic shutdown.
      Despite Peru’s lauded response efforts, it now has one of the world’s longest lockdowns, and the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in Latin America, with more than 264,000 cases and more than 8,000 people killed. In the region, Peru ranks only behind Brazil, which has taken a decidedly less deliberate approach to halting the pandemic. Where things went wrong, experts say, was in misunderstanding the dynamics of poverty in a country that has gained “middle-income” status over two decades of growth.
      “It’s like we decided poverty is almost over in [Peruvian] cities and we only need to focus on rural areas,” says Peru-based Carmen Roca, the Latin America regional advisor for WIEGO, an international nongovernmental organization advocating for informal workers. The pandemic “is exposing the fact that there are still a lot of people in poverty who we didn’t see before: They are earning day to day and working in difficult conditions.”

      Missing numbers

      In a region known for economic booms and busts, Peru has been a model of steady economic success, bolstered by commodity exports and conservative fiscal policies. Millions have moved out of poverty. But that progress may have given Peruvians a false sense of security.
      “For 20 years we’ve been a star country in terms of macroeconomics. We’ve grown extraordinarily, had fiscal discipline,” says Hugo Ñopo, an economist at Grade, a development think tank in Lima. “But we’ve forgotten to invest in the people. We’ve forgotten to invest in health and education.”
      Peru’s $26 billion relief package is worth an estimated 12% of the country’s gross domestic product. (In comparison, the U.S. is spending about 14% of its GDP.) But reaching vulnerable households with the transfers of 380-760 soles ($110-$220) has proved challenging – particularly given outdated information on who is struggling. After Peru first announced subsidies for poor people and informal workers, so many people were accidentally excluded that two new transfer programs were created, using information from other agencies.
      It isn’t for lack of trying, observers say. The government used various databases, but it became obvious early on that numbers on poverty were out of date, says Mr. Ñopo, who co-wrote a United Nations Development Program policy note on Peru’s relief package.
      Rodrigo Abd/AP
      Patio umbrellas and tarps dot the landscape at La Parada market in La Victoria district in Lima, Peru, June 23, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
      “Errors are unavoidable. But this is the moment when we have to learn from these mistakes,” he says. “The government needs to adapt – see the error as a tool for excellence” moving forward.
      “We can’t keep running on autopilot,” Mr. Ñopo says.
      The shortcomings of Peru’s ambitious package reflect the “fragility of our safety nets,” former finance minister Luis Miguel Castilla said in an April 15 online conference hosted by the Wilson Center. “Peru lacks the tools to reach vulnerable populations,” including bank accounts – only 43% of the population has one.
      NGOs like WIEGO offered to create a roster of its own to share with the government, but Ms. Roca says they were rebuffed. She suspects that, given high-profile corruption scandals in recent years, the government’s hands were tied on what kind of databases to use.
      Corruption has also been to blame for some of the poor execution. Food baskets, for example, were to be distributed at the municipal level, and the government has received hundreds of complaints of irregularities, like expired products or goods removed before delivery.
      Ms. Roca says the challenges in identifying who is in need clearly won’t be resolved overnight, but hopefully the pandemic will set priorities moving forward.
      “This population working informally, in a sense, they have finally been seen and recognized,” Ms. Roca says.

      “We’re invisible”

      Before COVID-19, Gloria Solórzano worked two informal jobs, starting around 4 a.m. each day. She’d sell fresh fruit, bringing home roughly $10, in the morning, and embroider in the afternoons. But she’s over 60 and says going out to work is too risky. She feels lucky that her adult children are helping her where they can, but they too are now without an income.
      Jacob Turcotte/Staff
      The day to day is grim: Ms. Solórzano eats one meal, down from two or three a day pre-pandemic. “The situation here is really critical, more so than in other countries, because the government isn’t taking us into account. We’re invisible,” she says of informal workers. She’s the leader of the National Network of Self-Employed Workers (RENATTA), with roughly 2,000 members. She knows of three who have received a government transfer.
      Meanwhile, unemployment has exploded, growing to 13.1%.
      “Informal workers will multiply,” Ms. Solórzano predicts. “It will be really hard to subsist. It’s not just me – it will be our reality at the national and international level. How will we move ahead after this pandemic?”
      Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.