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Disney, Parmigiano Reggiano and Chinese smackers

Employee issues, trademark infringements and copyright disputes in the news

Chinese bank employees 'smacked’ by boss

A Chinese bank manager has been shown smacking underperforming employees with a paddle in a video that has surfaced online.

The video shows employees at a Rural Commercial Bank in Changzhi, Northern China, being smacked in front of other workers for not "exceeding themselves", according to the Chinese newspaper China People's Daily, which posted it on Facebook.

China does not yet meet international labour law standards. Employees cannot choose their collective bargaining representatives, while employers are not legally required to bargain with workers.

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Parmigiano Reggiano consortium fights back

An Italian consortium has announced a partnership with NetNames, to stop trademark infringements of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Parmigiano Reggiano is named after the producing areas, which comprises the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena as well as parts of Bologna, and Mantua in Italy. Under European law, only cheese produced in these provinces complying with strict specifications may be named Parmigiano Reggiano and since 1996 Parmigiano Reggiano has been a protected designation of origin (PDO). In addition, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that Parmesan is an evocation of Parmigiano Reggiano meaning that, in the EU, Parmesan is protected as well as Parmigiano Reggiano. As such, Kraft Heinz, an American food company, was recently forced to stop selling its ‘Parmesan’ in Europe as it breached European law.

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Disney sues China firms in copyright dispute

Walt Disney Co has taken three Chinese firms to court over concerns local animation "The Autobots" copied elements from Disney's own hit movie "Cars", as the U.S. firm looks to protect its drive into the world's second-largest economy.

A court in Shanghai held a hearing on Tuesday, a Disney spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters. The dispute was over "copyright infringement" and "unfair competition", according to a notice on the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court website.

Disney is making a major push into China with the recent opening of a $5.5 billion theme park in Shanghai, its first on the mainland, while its animated movies including "Zootopia" and "Big Hero 6" have been big box office hits in the country.

The iconic U.S. firm, however, faces tough competition in the market from local theme park developers, popular Chinese animations as well as counterfeits from merchandise to fake Disney hotels. Chinese authorities have promised to give Disney "special" trademark protection.

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