Category / Business

Business

Intellectual Property Basics to Keep in Mind

Dealing with intellectual property in the digital age, you need to make sure that you and your business are fully protected. Admittedly the laws have yet to catch up to the times but until they do, it’s good to work within the current framework and be mindful of other external variables.

Types of Intellectual Property

Legally speaking, there are four types:

  • Patents are inventions you register with the government. With this type of property, you get the right to exclude anyone else from marketing it or manufacturing it.
  • Trademarks are names, phrases, sounds, or symbols that are connected with your brand. Trademarks don’t have to be registered; companies wanting to stake their claim can affix the TM symbol to mark their territory.
  • Copyright are written or artistic expressions such as novels, poems, songs, and movies. The owner of the copyrighted work can reproduce it, make derivatives of the works, sell, perform or display it to the public. The work doesn’t need to be registered unless you’re going to sue for copyright infringement,
  • Trade secrets are formulas, patterns, devices, data compilations, anything that gives your company a competitive advantage. The trade secret is covered by state law and it must be shown that it adds value to the company, is a secret and is well safeguarded. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coca Cola are examples of this.

Protecting your intellectual property whether you choose to form an LLC or just register DBA status means you have the taken the necessary steps to keep your intellectual capital safe. You just need to make sure that you have the necessary funds to do it as it can cost you tens of thousands in legal fees and may take years to fully materialize. If you’re adamant that this is the legal route to go then start the process early and make sure you have the right experts working for you.

Offshoring Risks

Just because your intellectual property is protected in one country, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe in others. In some countries forming an LLC with the belief that you are protected, you may be in for a shock. Countries like China that signed the TRIPS, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, agreement that asks countries protect the intellectual property of others, tends to regard foreign intellectual property as communal. It and India are two countries that are perceived as very corrupt, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Before introducing your intellectual property to a global audience, you need to take the necessary precautions which include protecting your important information, such as source code with strong access codes. Make sure you understand the legal system and culture of the countries. This will help you to negotiate contracts that favor your company best. Make sure that you maintain the originals of all of your documents, that way you have a sterile trail to follow if something goes wrong.

Minding Your DMCA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created back in 1998 before YouTube and the concept of content aggregation was commonplace. It protected sites where were encouraged to upload their creative material and provide content. The user who uploads the content must make it clear that they own the uploaded material or have permission from the copyright owner to share the content. If that’s not the case, the owner of the video would notify the site of the infringement and they would take down the material. There are specific steps that need to be taken but if your business is going to be running contests, then you need to make sure that you are away of DMCA and protect your business accordingly.

Intellectual property law can become a minefield no matter if you are the creator or the user. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your business or you could be facing an expensive lesson one day.  

Business

What To Do When You Want To Change Your Career?

There are many moments in life when we realize the fact that we want to do something else. While in the past it was quite impossible to change careers, nowadays everything is a lot simpler. There are various education options that are available and in the event that you do not actually know what to do and you want to change your current career path, here are some things you should consider.

What Jobs Are Available Now?

This is a question you have to ask yourself. It is useless to get education if you cannot actually find the job where you live. Sites like Xpat Careers aid you to see what is currently in demand and can be a great starting point for your research. It is not the only option that is available but it is something that you have to consider. Make a list of the different opportunities available and always take your personal wishes into account.

Necessary Education

Based on the career path that you want to take, there may be some alternative education options that can be considered to make the switch faster. For instance, if you consider becoming a plumber, you can go through an apprentice program instead of actually following formal education. In the event that you do not have enough time to go through the necessary education, you may want to consider other alternatives. You want to be really good at the new job that you will do.

The Financial Aspect

This is the most difficult thing about changing your career. In the event that you make a switch and you already went through some raises in the past, you can find yourself in the unwanted situation in which the new career will not make you enough money to sustain your current lifestyle. Never dismiss this fact since it will have a huge impact on your life.

On the whole, changing a career is not at all difficult. You need to make a list of all the options you should consider and then, eventually, choose one new career path. Make sure that you take your time and that you understand all the pros and cons of the options that you are considering! Remember that you can make many mistakes when changing your career.

Business

The Future of Business

As businesses struggle to cope with an ever changing world it can be hard to predict what the future holds. In any three month period there are normally dozens of political, economic, social and technological changes which can affect the way we do business. 

In March this year Yahoo produced an interesting article (full article click here) where leading journalists from The Telegraph and social media experts were asked to predict where SMEs would be in the next ten years. An almost impossible task you may think but the results were fascinating. Before they started to think ahead they took the time to look back over the last ten years and realised that SME’s in the UK had dealt with some unprecedented challenges including: Eurozone crisis, birth and explosion of Social Media, growth of online shopping, change of government and VAT rates, collapse of the high street banking industry, natural disasters affecting trade and the optimism of London 2012 Olympics.

In the next ten years businesses will certainly face similar challenges and as legislation increases regarding data protection, online shopping continues to grow and managing personal debt becomes an essential problem to tackle it’s bound to affect trade. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is the growth of interactive media solutions in the home, touch screen technology and digital devices evolving at home and in the palm of your hand will increase pressure on businesses to perform. 

The evolution of Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging has made consumers more demanding and impatient than ever before. Businesses must monitor these new channels of communication carefully and decide on their approach to ensure they can preserve their reputations, deliver excellent customer service and offer choice and depth of products to satisfy consumer demand. As the world becomes more advanced the ability to source products globally will increase, this in turn will put pressure on UK businesses to ensure they can keep up on a worldwide stage.

So what can we conclude from these predictions? It seems clear that the business that manage to survive turmoil have several qualities in common; excellent fiscal management, ability to embrace new technology, wisdom to only adopt change when there’s a clear financial or strategic advantage to their business, insight to predict future trends and adapt their business to ensure they survive.

Business

The Rarest Diamonds In The World

Cullinan Diamond IMG 9105

For over 60 years, De Beers has managed to convince jewellery lovers that diamonds mean love and should be treasured forever. In reality, it is coloured loose diamonds that are truly rare. Experts state that there is probably only one coloured diamond for every 100,000 D flawless stones, and it’s not necessarily flawless.

 diamond-colors

 

 

 

Colour equals price

Coloured diamonds are the most valuable in the world due to their exceptional rarity and beauty. If you’ve decided to invest in the coloured gems, be ready to pay unparalleled prices for red, green and blue diamonds. Purple, pink and violet diamonds are the following in rarity. Orange and olive diamonds belong to the next rarity – and price – level. These gems are followed by yellow, brown, grey, champagne, and black diamonds that are a bit more popular. 

Colour saturation and clarity

When it comes to coloured diamonds, clarity is a secondary factor, while the colour intensity is the dominant one.  Coloured diamonds are graded according to the saturation of colour and the hues presented in them. Depending on the colour saturation, the gems are graded Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid. The dominant colour is listed after the modifying colours.

Pink diamonds

Today, the Argyle mine is the world’s largest producer of unrivalled intense pink diamonds, providing about 95% of the entire pink diamond supply. The rarity of pink diamonds is “defined by Mother Nature” as only 40 carats of pink diamonds out of every 39.2 million carats of mined diamonds are estimated to be worthy of being presented for sale.

Once a year, pink diamonds are sold by special bids in the international VIP Pink Diamond Tender, organised by Argyle Diamonds.

Blue and green diamonds

Only limited quantities of blue and green diamonds are supplied by the Argyle Diamond Mine. Fancy blue diamonds come in a broad range of shades, from light blue to sapphire blue. The Blue Heart, weighing 30.82 carats, is one of the world’s rarest diamonds, deep blue in colour. Fancy green diamonds are usually not very deep in colour which gets even lighter during the fashioning of the gems.

The rarest diamonds in the world

Based on colour, the rarest diamond in the world is known as The Ocean Dream Diamond. It weighs only 5.51 carats but the diamond’s colour is unique – blue-green. The rarest diamond in the world based on size is the 3106.75-carat Cullinan Diamond which was cut in nine large chunks, 96 small ones and 9.5 carats of unpolished pieces and used in various British Crown jewels.

Among the rarest diamonds in the world one can also mention the reddish-brown 248.9-carat Earth Star, the white 559-carat Centenary Diamond, the fancy yellow 124.5-carat Golden Eye Diamond, the fancy deep blue 115-carat Hope Diamond, and others. 

Business

Customer communication protocols

People running businesses sometimes fail to understand how inter-personal skills and business etiquette can help or hinder the acquisition and retention of customers.

Why?

Dealing with some types of business problem is relatively easy. 

Obtaining capital injections can typically be achieved through people such as www.wongaforbusiness.com and it’s always possible to take business development advice from centres such as your local chamber of commerce or even the government’s own websites.

Yet business protocols are less frequently discussed – sometimes with potentially disastrous results. 

So, here are a few basic business courtesy tips that it might be advisable to adopt:

  1. stay polite but formal with customers unless you have worked with them for a long time.  That means avoiding immediately starting to use forenames. In fact, you should normally ask the customer if they mind you calling them by their forename before doing so; 
  2. be cautious with humour.  Unless you know the other party well, it is easy to offend or be entirely misunderstood; 
  3. switch your mobile phone off when you are dealing with a customer.  Nothing infuriates people more than when you keep checking your mobile and pushing buttons while they are trying to talk to you about business matters; 
  4. dress smartly.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is old-fashioned. Looking as if you have just come straight off of a demolition site when dealing with customers is hardly likely to fill them with confidence – even if you are trying to sell them demolition services; 
  5. respond promptly to email and phone messages. People typically understand you may not always be able to respond immediately but they will expect at least an acknowledgement of their communication within a sensible time period; 
  6. don’t horse around. You may think your antics are amusing but you may be perceived as being either juvenile or flippant – neither normally considered to be desirable characteristics by customers; 
  7. under no circumstances should you lie to your customers. Leaving aside the ethics of telling lies, human beings can frequently detect when someone is lying to them by their body language, voice patterns or logical inconsistencies / implausibility in the story being told. If something has gone wrong, tell the truth, apologise and put it right quickly – but don’t lie! 

Even in our typically modern and informal world, the above practices will normally be very well received.