Hutchison Sells House For Second-highest Hong Kong Price

The patent reform bill, introduced by Representative Robert Goodlatte, was approved after Goodlatte stripped out a measure that would have changed how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reviews software patents to determine if they are valid. The bill aims to fight frivolous patent litigation. In one case, a patent assertion entity, or PAE, demanded licensing payments from retailers who provided services to customers such as free Wi-Fi. "Within the past couple of years we have seen an exponential increase in the use of weak or poorly granted patents against American businesses with the hopes of securing a quick payday," said Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, who chairs the committee. "These suits target a settlement just under what it would cost for litigation, knowing that these businesses will want to avoid costly litigation and probably pay up," Goodlatte said at the committee session in which the bill was approved. The bill requires judges hearing patent cases to award fees to the winner in an infringement lawsuit, unless the judge decides otherwise. The bill would also require companies filing infringement lawsuits to provide specific details on what patent is infringed and how it is used. Goodlatte has worked on the patent issue with his counterpart on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy. Leahy, along with Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, launched a bill on Monday that would require patent holders to disclose ownership when they sue and would allow manufacturers to step into lawsuits to protect customers accused of infringing. While similar in some respects, the House and Senate bills also have significant differences that would need to be ironed out by lawmakers if each is passed. Other proposals are circulating on Capitol Hill, and the Federal Trade Commission has a study underway on the impact on competition of abusive patent litigation. Patent experts such as Adam Mossoff, who teaches at George Mason University School of Law, have urged Congress to be cautious in changing patent law because of the danger of hurting companies whose patents are genuinely infringed.

(13) , controlled by Li Ka-shing , Asia s richest man, sold a house in Hong Kongs Victoria Peak area for HK$740 million ($95 million), the second-highest paid for such property in the city. The 6,863 square-foot (638 square-meter) house at the seven-home, 28 Barker Road project was sold to an unidentified buyer, according to the projects website . The price is the second-highest paid in the city after a house on Pollocks Path in The Peak area sold for HK$800 million in 2011, according to broker Colliers International. The citys government has since 2010 imposed various extra property transaction taxes and tightened mortgage lending to curb home prices that are now the worlds highest. Prices of Hong Kong s luxury residential properties will drop about 3 percent in the fourth quarter, extending a decline since the start of the year, as transactions decline to the lowest in almost two decades, according to broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. In this market, whoevers willing to pay such high price for a property is buying it for their own use, said Simon Lo, Hong Kong-based executive director, research and advisory, at Colliers. With all these extra taxes, theres very little chance you can make money by investing in them. Hong Kong in February doubled stamp duty on all property deals over HK$2 million to as high as 8.5 percent. In October 2012, it slapped a 15 percent extra tax on home purchases by all non-Hong Kong residents and corporate buyers. Pollocks Path The Peak is one of the citys most-expensive residential areas where global banks and companies such as HSBC Holdings Plc house their top executives. Swire Properties Ltd. last year sold a unit in a Frank Gehry-designed building for HK$455 million, a record for Hong Kong apartments. Hutchison Whampoa has put another house in the 28 Barker Road project up for sale, according to the website. Hong Kong home prices are the worlds highest in a Savills Plc survey of 10 cities, including London , New York and Tokyo . The value of luxury properties will drop as much as 5 percent in the second half after a 3.2 percent decline in the first three months of the year, according to Savills. To contact the reporter on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at More News:

House OKs bill to speed oil, gas drilling

Improved technology has allowed energy companies to gain access to huge stores of natural gas underneath states from Wyoming to New York but has raised widespread concerns that it might lead to groundwater contamination and even earthquakes. A draft rule issued this spring would require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to publicly disclose the chemicals used in fracking operations. A final rule is expected next year. Flores called his bill an important step to reaffirm states' rights to determine energy production, as well as a way to create jobs. Because of fracking and other techniques, the U.S. could be "energy secure" by 2020, Flores said. "This is a goal we should pursue, just as we did in the 1960s to put a man on the moon." Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said state rules on fracking vary widely. "That's why it's important that the Interior Department put in place a regulatory floor of safety measures to assure that there are at least minimal protections in place on all public lands in all states," he said. ___ Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter at Politics & Government NEW YORK (AP) Sarah Palin on Wednesday cancelled a scheduled interview with NBC's Matt Lauer following MSNBC host Martin Bashir's suggestion that she deserved a graphic punishment for comments made about slavery. Associated Press Lindsey Vonn partially tore one of the reconstructed ligaments in her surgically repaired right knee in a training crash that at the very least puts her preparation for the Sochi Olympics on hold. Associated Press LONDON (AP) He's been turned down by planes, trains and even a cruise ship in his quest to return home and his family says it's because he has been deemed too fat to travel.