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Russian hackers, dial-tone trademark and minimum wage dispute

Legal stories making the news

FBI trying to build legal cases against Russian hackers

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is intensifying efforts to find enough evidence to enable the Justice Department to indict some of the Russians that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded are hacking into American political parties and figures, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials said on Thursday. Building legal cases is difficult, largely because the best evidence against foreign hackers is often highly classified, they said. Still, some White House and State Department officials think legal action is the best way to respond to what they said are growing Russian attempts to disrupt and discredit the November elections, without sparking an open confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Doing nothing is not an option, because that would telegraph weakness and just encourage the Russians to do more meddling, but retaliating in kind carries substantial risks," said one U.S. official involved in the administration's deliberations.

Russia has denied it sponsors or encourages any hacking activity.

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‘Too banal’: EU court rejects ‘telephone dial-tone’ trademark

An application to trademark the tone of a ringing telephone or alarm cannot be registered because it is too boring and not distinctive enough, the lower section of the EU court has ruled.

According to a ruling handed down by the EU General Court, Brazilian company Globo Comunicação e Participações’s application for a sound sign ‘would go unnoticed and would not be remembered by the consumer’.

The decision backs an earlier ruling by the EU Intellectual Property Office that rejected the initial trademark application.

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Care workers launch largest ever legal claim over minimum wage dispute

The largest ever legal claim against the care sector has been launched in what could turn out to be one of the worst breaches of pay rules ever seen.

Seventeen care workers claim to have been paid less than half the minimum wage by contractor Sevacare.

Payslips from the six years leading up to 2016 appear to show Sevacare were paying some staff in the north London borough of Haringey £3.27 an hour – less than half the minimum wage, according to the BBC. The company says that is not correct and that it pays its workers an average hourly rate that exceeds the minimum wage.

Alistair Burt MP, who was the care minister until July this year, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he welcomed the scrutiny on workers’ conditions as a result of the tribunal. He said if a ruling in favour of the workers “means a massive increase in costs all round, then that’s what’s required”.

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