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The Supreme Court stands in Washington, in this May 18, 2015 file photo.JOSHUA ROBERTS/Reuters

U.S. Supreme Court's Scalia calls a troll a troll

U.S. Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia is well-known as a man who doesn't mince his words. And he was true to form on Tuesday when hearing a case involving Cisco Systems, he invoked the words "patent trolls" – entities that don't manufacture products or supply services, but whose main purpose is to enforce certain patent rights they hold with the intent of extracting money from companies.

It's the first time the term has been heard in a Supreme Court case, in an appeal by Cisco of a verdict that awarded damages to Commil – a patent troll – which claimed Cisco infringed on a 2001 patent connected with wireless networking, Fortune reported.

The legal action has had a convoluted and controversial history. When Israel-based Commil won the first trial, it was awarded $3.7-million (U.S.) in damages, but it pressed for and won a retrial on the basis of comments made by a Cisco lawyer it called anti-Semitic.

In a cross-examination of patent-owner Jonathan David, Mr. David testified about eating at a barbecue restaurant with one of the inventors. Cisco's counsel asked him what he ordered, adding, "I bet not pork."

He also raised the trial of Christ during the proceedings, asking jurors to "remember the most important trial in history, which we all read about as kids, in the Bible."

Commil won again, with the jury upping the award to $63.8-million.

Despite the reputation of patent trolls, Cisco may want to be a little more careful with them, and it definitely might want to reconsider its choice of legal representation.


Volvo's anti-journalist feature a real hit

A media event to showcase the Volvo XC60 got some publicity for all the wrong reasons.

The new model offers some pretty snazzy features, including self-parking capabilities, an auto-braking system called City Safety designed to prevent rear-enders in congested traffic, and another self-braking system known as Pedestrian Detection.

In a demonstration video shot in the Dominican Republic, the car is shown slowly backing up, and then quickly accelerating forward and plowing into a couple of journalists. While frightening to watch, the two reporters were lucky to have escaped with just minor bruises.

So, a major tech fail? Not so, said Volvo spokesman Johan Larsson last week. "It appears as if the car in this video is not equipped with Pedestrian Detection. This is sold as a separate package."

Still, even with XC60s that are equipped with the feature, Mr. Larsson warns against trying this at home. "Volvo Cars strongly recommends to never perform tests towards real humans."


Millennials just aren't buying it

Retailers be warned: Millennials aren't going to be your salvation.

Battered by student-loan debt and the Great Recession, Millennials place less emphasis on owning and more on sharing, bartering and trading to access coveted goods, as Reuters explains.

Younger people, traditionally a driver of retail sales, are less inclined to purchase homes and cars than their parents, and the trend is now taking a toll on the overall sector, due to new retail marketplaces such as Kidizen, Yerdle and Crossroads Trading that facilitate the buying and selling of used clothes and household goods.

Yerdle estimates Americans are holding on to about $100-billion (U.S.) in stuff they no longer use, and private equity has taken note of the opportunity, with some nascent companies being funded by such investors as Bain Capital and Highland Capital Partners, Business Insider reports.

The days of shop-till-you-drop appear to be receding into the rear-view mirror.


What do you get the dog who has everything?

Wang Sicong, the son of mainland China's richest man, real-estate magnate Wang Jianlin, isn't reining in his enthusiasm for Apple and his dog.

Young Mr. Wang has blinged-out his canine friend with a pair of Apple Watches, which appear to be the gold models that retail for about 126,000 yuan. ($25,000)

His dog happens to have its own microblogging site on China's Weibo, where he – the dog that is – boasts he's sporting one on each front leg, as he decided having them on all of his legs would be a bit tacky.

The Shanghaiist wrote that while many people were infuriated by the vulgar display of wealth, they shouldn't take it out on the adorable little Husky: "The dog can't help that its owner is an [expletive]."