Business Briefs – June 8, 2016

Few Insurers Cut Rates for New Electronic Safety Devices

DETROIT (AP) – Insurers aren’t yet ready to give a break to car owners who invest in automatic braking or other new electronic technologies such as lane departure warning or blind spot detection. Many companies are still compiling their own data to confirm that the devices stop crashes, while others say automakers don’t always make it clear which models have the new technologies.

The Associated Press found that of the 11 biggest U.S. auto insurers, only two offer discounts for the new electronic devices. But experts say that because they are so effective in reducing crashes, it’s just a matter of time before widespread rate cuts arrive.

Sweden Bans M&Ms in Chocolate Trademark Dispute

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A Swedish court has ordered candy maker Mars to stop selling M&Ms in the Scandinavian country, at least not with the customary lower-case letters it uses on the packaging and on the colorful chocolates.

The Svea Court of Appeal said Wednesday it ruled against Mars in a trademark dispute with Kraft Foods, which sells chocolate-covered peanuts under the Marabou brand with a single “m’’ on the packaging. It said Kraft has exclusive rights to the trademark in Sweden.

However, it added that using the upper-case M&Ms doesn’t constitute a trademark infringement in Sweden.

Yahoo Puts More Than 3,000 Patents on Auction Block

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) – Yahoo is hoping to auction off most of its technology patents as part of a purge that also could culminate in the sale of its internet operations.

More than 3,000 patents that have already been issued or are under approval review are on the sales block. Analysts have estimated that Yahoo Inc.’s patents are worth more than $1 billion.

Yahoo says it intends to retain more than 2,000 other patents that have been issued or awaiting approval in the U.S. and abroad.

South Africa Edges Toward Recession With Drop in Mining

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa edged closer to a recession Wednesday on news that the economy had shrunk by 1.2 percent in the first three months of 2016 amid a fall in production at the country’s mines.

Mining and quarrying, which contributes nearly 8 percent to gross domestic product, fell 18.1 percent in the first quarter as worldwide demand for commodities remained low, according to figures released by South Africa’s statistics agency.

Growth was also hit by a protracted drought, with agriculture, which makes up 2.2 percent of GDP, shrinking for the fifth consecutive quarter.