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In Brief: Sears Job Cuts… U.S. Appeals WTO Ruling… IP Enforcement Up

Sears Holdings Corp. plans on cutting 200 support jobs from its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters, trimming 4 percent of its 5,000-strong workforce there.

SEARS JOB CUTS: Sears Holdings Corp. plans on cutting 200 support jobs from its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters, trimming 4 percent of its 5,000-strong workforce there. Last month, the corporate parent to Sears and Kmart said it would break its business into five units to streamline operations. “As we’ve previously stated, Sears Holdings’ results have not been satisfactory and because of that, as part of a continuing process, we are assessing our business priorities, cost structures and organization and, when and where necessary, we will be making adjustments,” said a spokesman. “This week, approximately 200 associates from our support center locations were impacted after a review of our organization. We offered those associates severance packages and outplacement services to assist with their transition.”

U.S. APPEALS WTO RULING: The U.S. has filed an appeal of a World Trade Organization compliance panel ruling last fall that affirmed Brazil’s complaint that the U.S. had failed to fully implement judgments that found American cotton subsidies broke global trade rules. “We believe that the changes made by the United States have brought its programs into full compliance with the WTO’s recommendations and rulings in the original cotton case,” said a spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Brazilian trade officials have stated that if the U.S. loses the appeal, Brazil would have the right to retaliate for up to $1 billion a year in sanctions until Washington fully complies with the rulings.

IP ENFORCEMENT UP: According to a report released Monday by Chris Israel, U.S. coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, the Department of Justice reported a 7 percent increase in intellectual property cases in fiscal year 2007. The Department of Justice filed 217 intellectual property cases in 2007 versus 204 in 2006. The number of cases filed increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2005. The number of defendants sentenced for intellectual property crimes increased 35 percent to 287 in fiscal year 2007 from 213 the prior year. The prosecutions in 2007 increased 92 percent from 2005 numbers.