The Recap: Team name is disparaging, patent office rules

June 21

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration, a move that won’t force the NFL team to change its name but fuels the intense fight by opponents to eliminate what they view as a racial slur against Native Americans. The 99-page decision said the team’s name and logo are disparaging. ¶ But the ruling cannot stop the team from selling T-shirts, beer glasses and license-plate holders with the moniker. ¶ The ruling’s main impact is as a cudgel by an increasingly vocal group of Native Americans, lawmakers, former football players and others who are trying to persuade team officials to change the name. The backlash against the name has never been more intense. ¶ The NFL generates revenue estimated at more than $9 billion annually, and the Redskins, at $1.7 billion, were rated the league’s third-most valuable team by Forbes magazine last year.

Business

Capital One Financial will no longer use a popular screening program to weed out potential customers with a history of overdrawing their accounts, an industry-wide practice that has pushed thousands of people out of the banking system.

Permits for exporting natural gas may violate the Energy and Policy Conservation Act of 1975, which banned overseas sale of oil or gas, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said. An executive order by President Gerald Ford in 1976 delegated rulemaking and exemption permits to the Commerce Department. Markey, a foe of LNG exports, said Commerce has not issued guidelines.

A GE Capital bank was fined $169 million for excluding tens of thousands of Spanish-speaking credit card customers from a debt-reduction program.

Deals

Exelon and Pepco Holdings filed applications with the Delaware Public Service Commission, the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, seeking approval of their proposed merger, announced in April.

SolarCity, one of the nation’s largest installers of rooftop solar systems, is buying Silveo, a solar-panel manufacturer. The deal was announced by SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk. The terms were not disclosed.

Earnings

CarMax profit jumped 16 percent, to $170 million, as the used-car chain opens stores at its fastest pace ever and expand its footprint across the United States.

Kroger profit climbed 4.2 percent, to $501 million, in its first full quarter since the grocery-store operator’s $2.44 billion acquisition of Harris Teeter.

Economy

The Federal Reserve downgraded its outlook for the U.S. economy this year but forged ahead with the phaseout of its signature stimulus program. The nation’s central bank lowered its forecast for growth this year to between 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent, down from its previous prediction of nearly 3 percent.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, suggested that the past winter showed that a wild card — climate change — might be holding back the economy.

The IMF said the U.S. economy is poised to accelerate after a dismal start to the year even though the job market won’t return to full employment until 2017. It noted that steady job gains and other data suggest the economy is rebounding.

U.S. manufacturing output rose in May at a solid pace, boosting hopes that the economy is expanding briskly after a dismal first three months of the year.

Washington

The Supreme Court ruled that public employees have First Amendment protection from retaliation when testifying in court.

Julian Castro, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, urged lawmakers to move forward with efforts to shutter Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying the current housing finance system is not serving Americans well.

Transitions

Nearly 2 million people around the world became millionaires last year, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent, as surging stock and home markets lifted the fortunes of the wealthy. The increase raised the number of millionaires to a record 13.7 million.

Deeb Salem, a former Goldman Sachs Group trader who said he helped the bank earn more than $7 billion, wants to be paid the almost $5 million difference between his 2010 bonus and what he told his mother to expect. Salem said in an arbitration hearing that he was led to believe that his 2010 bonus would be $13 million, down from a $15 million award for 2009, when he was paid more than Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein.

— From news services and staff reports

$43 billion
Medtronic to pay for Covidien

The U.S. medical device maker Medtronic agreed to buy its Ireland-based competitor. The company would base its executive offices in Dublin, where it could benefit from Ireland’s lower corporate tax rates. But it would continue to operate in Minneapolis, where Medtronic employs more than 8,000. Medtronic is paying a 29 percent premium on Covidien’s stock price as of June 13.

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