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.  

Debt Management

Do Not Be Scared About Debt, Do This Instead

Hello my fellow Financial Freedom Guerrillas.

I know being in debt can seem overwhelming but you can win if you don’t curl up and die. The last thing you want to do is freeze up, because then the debt will have won. You are stronger than that and I know you can overcome it.

There are a lot of things in life to be scared of, but debt isn’t one of them. The boogie man, Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, those are things to be scared of. Debt is just an over indulgence of life.

Instead of being scared become resourceful. Think to yourself “what can I do to get out of this situation?”, “What can I do to kill this debt?”

Do you need to get rid of some things? Do you need to cut back on your monthly expenses? Do you need to make more money?

Think about it this way, If you were stuck behind enemy lines and you only have the clothes on your back, would you just lay down and die? I would hope not. I would hope that you would find a way to make it home alive.

Do that with debt!

Use all the resources available to you. Do you have somebody you can stay with? Do you have somebody that can help you come up with a plan? Do you have somebody that can help you learn to fish, instead of giving you the fish?

We are lucky to be at a day in age where we have a huge resource available to us for free. The Internet! Use it to help you find answers to what you’re scared about. Write down all the reasons why you are scared and Google them.

I promise you are not the only one who is scared. Look around and you’ll find other people that have become resourceful and didn’t let being scared stop them from overcoming debt.

Just don’t let that paralyze you, don’t give it power over you, don’t let it eat you alive. Become Rambo and do what it takes to defeat your debt.

Your dreams are waiting for you, so start heading towards them. I’m knocking down all of the barriers in between. Don’t let debt conquer you and kill your dreams, conquer it and make your dreams a reality.

Are you ready to defeat your debt?

How are you/have you become resourceful?

If you want other people to become resourceful be sure to spread the word and use the icons below to share this post.

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Travel

Bringing your car with you on holidays?

Taking your car on holiday can seem like the obvious answer when planning how to get around. No flights and no hours wasted in airport car parks or queuing at check-in. No need to rent an expensive car for the couple of weeks that you get there. Just take your trusty vehicle on the ferry or the Eurostar and you can be gliding around the serene roads of Belgium and France in no time at all. 

However, any road trip outside of your home country requires a few serious considerations. AA Cars have some handy tips and things to think about before you take your car over onto the continent. 

1. Plan your trip before you depart 

If you’re a relatively experienced driver, you probably don’t need to consult roadmaps before setting off for a trip to Norwich or Sheffield. You know which motorway to hop on, which junction to get off at and the necessary rights and lefts to take. Unless you are a very regular visitor to the Ruhr Valley or Brittany, it could be a sensible idea to dust off a map of Europe’s roads and do a bit of prep. 

2. Bring the right paperwork 

Paperwork can feel like an absolute pain at times but you need to make sure that you have all the right documents with you before you travel. That could mean your motor insurance certificate or a green card, the paper bit of your driving licence and the car’s registration documents. 

Don’t be forced to cut your trip short because you forgot to take a piece of paper with you. 

3. Be aware of local rules 

Each country will have its own speed limits and local customs when it comes to motoring. Flashing lights in Italy may mean something very different to those in Austria so do a bit of reading beforehand and try to make sure you understand local customs and regulations. 

4. Have regular rest stops 

Europe might not be quite as large as Asia or Africa but it still covers a vast expanse of land, and a trip that may look relatively small on a map could well take you a much longer amount of time than previously anticipated. 

Book yourself into a hotel for an overnight rest stop if you’ve got a serious journey on your hands and most importantly: have a happy holiday!

Debt Management

Avoiding Interruptions In Your Debt Payoff

Paying off debt requires persistence and dedication. Sometimes in the process of getting the upper hand on what we owe, we can run into situations that threaten to derail our strategy. Some are of our own doing, others are external. Let’s review some of each.

Dealing With Lost-Work Injuries

Let’s face it. No matter what other strategies you have to manage your debt, the only way you can pay it off is to remain gainfully employed. And when you are doing everything right but end up off work because of someone else’s mistake, the damage to your life can extend far beyond a few weeks of missed paychecks. Indeed, everything you’ve been doing to try to improve your financial situation can be undone as quickly as a car can run a stoplight.

How do you respond when this happens to you? You can’t let an injury leave you off work with no money coming in. If you do, a vicious cycle can result in which you hurry back to work before you’re fully recovered. You then re-injure yourself and end up off work again, and so you hurry back to work again, and on and on.

This can’t go on. Mike Pines has represented many injured people who ended up without a paycheck because someone else was reckless. His background in the insurance industry makes him uniquely qualified to confirm the importance of recovering money for lost wages when you’re hurt. If you don’t pursue reparations for the full cost of your injury, your entire financial future is in jeopardy.

Avoiding New Debt

This may seem a little too obvious for someone already struggling to pay off existing obligations. But thanks to the availability of your credit score to would-be lenders, your mailbox may contain daily temptations to consolidate debts by taking out new loans.

You must resist those calls for your attention. Most local banks, employer credit unions, and other local lenders who know you better are a much better option for simplifying a jumble of loans and credit cards. The mail-based offers will feature sky-high interest rates, hidden fees, and interminable payoff calendars. You may think you’re doing better by cutting your payments drastically, but you will be stuck paying on it for much longer. Your total payout will be much more by adding all those extra months.

If you really are struggling to make payments, chances are you’ve checked elsewhere for better options. If you’re only looking at something new because of a flashy piece of mail, do yourself a favor and trash it. Remember, the best debt is the one you never owe.

Bring Home (Extra) Bacon

When you’re just barely making payments, it is much better to expand your income than to try to shrink your payments. For those who are already worked to the max, of course, this isn’t an option. Your health, your family, and your performance at your existing employer(s) demand that you have some amount of down time.

But if you’re just trailing along at 40 or 50 hours of work per week and you’d like to get more aggressive in your payments, investigate some options for other work. Maybe you could perform services through your own business, such as cutting grass. Some people have elderly or ill neighbors who can’t mow their own, and they’ll gladly pay the neighbor to do it for them.

There are also freelance writing jobs, part-time work on night shifts, and there really is legitimate online work. Again, ignore unsolicited offers on email or ads and take the initiative to find reputable employers yourself.

Living in debt is unpleasant. It can dominate your every thought, sapping all the enjoyment from your life. The faster you cut it loose, the faster you can enjoy your friends, family, and work. Do what it takes to speed up your payoff, and get ready to enjoy living again!