What is Intellectual Property and 3 Key Issues About It

Intellectual property comprises patents, copyrights, trademark, design rights and registered designs. Some intellectual property rights (such as Patents, Trade Marks and Registered Designs) need a formal process of registration by the owner to the Intellectual Property Office, in order to afford protection and monopoly rights to the owner. Others, such as copyright and design rights, arise automatically upon creation, but do not protect from a third party’s independent creation – only from copying.

Of course, IP rights, only protect the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves, as a very first stage it is important that, appropriate confidentiality provisions are put in place, to ensure that discussions during different parties at the very beginning, are protected and not disclosed.

The IP rights differ in terms of duration and procedures, but the effect is to ensure that the owner has the exclusive right to use and decide how those rights are used and exploited and to prevent any other party from using the same rights.

Patents protect an invention that is new, novel and has industrial application. This, in turn, allows the owner of the patent to use the invention to streamline its business processes, gain competitive advantage or increase its revenue, by granting licences or selling the patent to a third party.

Copyright protects original literary works (e.g. instruction manuals, computer programs) dramatic, musical works or artistic works (such as logos, maps, technical drawings, diagrams, photographs, works of architecture). The owner of copyright is the first author of the copyrighted work. So, if you engage consultants or subcontractors to write a report or carry out a survey or produce your website or a piece of software that party’s owns the copyright, even if you have paid for it. However, copyright does not protect ideas.

Trademark is a sign which can distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of another. A sign includes words, logos, pictures or a combination of these. A sign to be registered must be distinctive, not deceptive and not identical or similar to any earlier marks for the same or similar goods or services. Please remember that, simple registration of your company with the Companies House, does not guarantee you trade mark protection. Also, if you have a website, you may want to consider registering the trade mark as a domain name and vice versa.

A Registered Design is a monopoly right for the appearance of the whole or a part of a product, resulting from the features of lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials of the product or its ornamentation. The design must be new and have individual character.

On the other hand, Design Right applies to originals, non-commonplace designs of shape or configuration of products. There is no need for registration and prevents third parties from copyright, without permission of the owner.

A business must be always aware of when and how intellectual property is created, in order to take all the necessary steps for its protection and exploitation. This means that contracts of employment need to have adequate provisions, dealing with creation of intellectual property and commissioned works need to be protected by appropriate contracts, which vest the intellectual property in the business commissioning the work.

But once a business has identified its intellectual property, what does it need to do next?

1. A business must manage its intellectual property portfolio

• Intellectual property is, as we have seen, made up of various rights and can be costly to maintain and protect. In an economic downturn it is crucial to review the strategy underpinning an intellectual property portfolio, to maximise its value and save costs.

• A business must conduct a review and decide whether it is necessary to maintain all patent, trade mark, domain name registrations and registered designs and consider the potential to abandon any registrations, which are ancillary to the needs of the business, or which are not cost-effective to maintain.

• Even when some intellectual property assets may not be of direct value to the business, they could still be licensed or assigned to third parties, for a substantial fee.

2. Capture and maximise value

• A business’ know-how, ideas and confidential information are valuable assets, often created at a significant cost to the business. Instituting and enforcing effective policies for the capture and retention of innovative ideas, trade secrets and inventions can often lead to enhanced business value and direct commercial benefits, which are particularly important within a more financially challenging environment.

• Patent filings may also be possible, adding further tangible value.

• It is also important to maintain a contractual and policy framework, to guard against the misuse of intellectual property rights by members of staff, particularly departing employees, who may have access to software code, customer lists or research and development material.

3. Monitor infringement and enforce your rights

• Infringement of intellectual property or other unauthorised use can have a severe impact on their and the business value. It is important to review the systems in place, to monitor infringement (for example, trademark watch services) and to review the strategy for taking action against infringers.

• Taking pro-active steps to enforce your intellectual property rights, may also create an opportunity to recover lost licensing revenue through settlement or damages awards. By contrast, a failure to take action to prevent and address intellectual property infringement, may result in lost license fees and royalties.

• Similarly, being aware of the intellectual property assets of your competitors and implementing clearance policies for new products or services, helps to avoid unwanted and costly infringement claims.

This article is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

Dr Maria Anassutzi Intellectual Property Expert [http://www.anassutzi.com] has founded Anassutzi & Co limited Anassutzi & Co limited [http://www.anassutzi.com] which offers high quality specialist intellectual property, information technology and commercial contracts advice tailored to each of our clients business.

All articles are for general purposes and guidance only and do not constitute legal or professional advice.

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Get the Right and Balanced Home Improvement

The Budget: Undoubtedly, the budget plays a huge role. You must always keep the monetary considerations in mind before you decide on the home improvement process. This helps you get a clear cut perspective on the key areas of your home that need improvement. The budget justification of these areas is also the key. Firstly, you can always specify a gross budget. Then you can specify the vital aspects of home improvement. Lastly, cross check whether the budget fits your home improvement demands. Such thorough analysis will help you eliminate the unwanted home improvement needs that might arise out of random sampling.

Use of Resources: Effective and efficient use of resources is the key. It is important that you know your house well. You must have good knowledge of your household goods and the durability factor involved with them. A reasonable analysis helps you know the actual need for change or make over in all the relevant areas.

Integration of the Elements: Integration of certain elements can bring a sense of uniqueness to the home. A good balance of the elements can help any room feel more inviting. Try wood and houseplants to invoke the feel of earth and air. Plants are especially good because not only do they look nice, they actually improve the quality of the air. Candles are great to bring fire’s warmth into a room, as is a fireplace. And a gorgeous fish aquarium or tabletop fountain provides the soothing energy of water. This is one example that presents a blend of exceptional budgeting and efficient utilization of resources.

Renovation: “Renovate” is the key to any home improvement project. You should always know the longevity of all our home belongings. This helps you judge the span of your home improvement project and the time specification you can have. The thin line that separates the need to renovate and the need to change can make a vital difference to the cost of any home improvement project.

The Exteriors: With all the potential improvements you can make to the interior of your home, it’s easy to neglect the outside. But the outside of your home is the first thing people see. If you live in a wood home, make sure the paint is fresh and un-chipped. Paint the shutters a new color to give your home renewed interest. Flower plantation and tree swings can add a great charm to your garden. Installing a pool or hot tub is also a good idea. Not only will you get the benefits of having your own place to splash around in, your home will be worth more if you ever decide to sell it.

Flooring: The flooring or the baseline of the homes makes a lot of difference. These days you have options to choose from. You can always try the new eco-friendly floor heating options available in the market. These not only keep your floor warm in winters but make sure that the heating is balanced in accordance with the outside temperature. They also serve as the best home improvement tasks when it comes to balancing. The amount of energy saving that they do as being substitute to floor heaters is phenomenal.

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Qualities of a Top Real Estate Broker

The real estate business sees different people playing different roles. These include mortgage brokers, bankers, home inspectors, contractors, appraisers, property managers, and several others. That’s not even counting the seller and potential buyers, for any property listed. The various contributions they make are too numerous to list, but are all very important. One thing that remains constant: it is the Real Estate Broker who ties it all together. That’s right, he or she calls all of these different people out where needed, to get the client’s needs met. They facilitate communication between all of the people involved, and keep track of the progress. So the question begs asking: what are the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker?

Many people can become a Realtor of one sort or another and start a real estate career. Only a rare select few rise to the top. One of the qualities they require from Day 1? The ability to wear several “hats” at once. At various stages in the process, a great Broker alternates between consultant, buyer’s advocate, salesperson, analyst, and negotiator… to name a few. Naturally, not everyone is born with the ability to juggle all these tasks at once. Some skills are instinctual, some are taught, and some we copy from other successful people. Similar to other fields, however, certain characteristics keep coming back when top Real Estate Brokers are studied.

PASSION

It’s extremely difficult to make it in this business without a genuine heartfelt passion. Many long hours, hard work, persistence, and a commitment to long-term goals lead the list. You don’t accept so many rejections and keep working that darn hard, without passion. Enough said.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

This isn’t just about becoming wealthy, it’s the intangibles: self-starter, endless motivation, strong drive, free thinker, patience, and good instincts. Staying open to new ideas -because you’re not convinced you know everything- allows for learning. Being cooperative with other Brokers around town allows for joint efforts down the line. Putting their motivation to grow the business ahead of their ego.

Being your own boss is a lot easier than it sounds, but it’s not for everyone. Only those with the desire to control their own professional destiny. To be successful in real estate requires large amounts of “guts” and a risk-taker attitude. Lastly, being persistent and tenacious, without being annoying to the other side. These are the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker.

GREAT COMMUNICATOR

This not only means the ability to speak freely, sound educated, or knowing how to pick up a phone or compose an email. This also refers to passing along important details to the right people, and leaving out unnecessary stuff to others. It’s a regular flow of info via phone, text, e-mail, or whatever medium the client prefers; while expressing yourself effectively on each. Saying more while using less words is also among the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker.

BE POLISHED

Punctual, well-dressed, well-groomed, using proper language skills, chewing with your mouth closed, and always maintaining class and sophistication. Most of this category is superficial, indeed, but the exterior is what makes the first impression. This also includes not taking 7 other phone calls or texts while meeting your new client for coffee. Remain confident but never arrogant.

PART-TIME PSYCHOLOGIST

There’s so much emotion involved in Real Estate transactions -especially residential- that removing the human element is almost impossible. This means that reading people, both in what they do and do not say, is crucial. Interpreting your customer’s non-verbal signals and behaviours allows you to better understand their needs.

There is so much they will not tell you outwardly, but from the small cues you need to get a feel for:

A client’s time frame. Are they in a hurry?

The real motivation to buy or sell, which affects their decisions.

Are they more price-sensitive than willing to admit?

Who’s the opinion leader in a married couple?

How much information becomes too much?

Knowing when to use humour to lighten the mood.

LARGE NETWORK

Another of the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker. They start with a small network of people (family, friends, etc.) but have the ability to grow it very quickly. This is done in many ways, and the most important are:

1- Being a people-person, not shy to introduce themselves.

2- Surrounding themselves with top professionals in complementary businesses.

3- Staying true to their word as they ask clients for referrals.

MOVING QUICKLY

A top Real Estate Broker returns calls and e-mails at crazy fast speed, recognizing that every lead for a new client or scoop on a property is invaluable. They make immediate contact and always follow up, since time is of the essence in keeping that lead “warm”. They are the champions of quick communication and use technology all day long. IE. Not falling asleep at the switch, so their new client doesn’t think they forgot about them.

PATIENCE

Everyone in this business eventually learns that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Many seeds are planted, months and even years, before the crops can be harvested. Most of the cold calls for soliciting new clientele are met with a “No”, and the majority of viewings don’t end with a sale. A top Real Estate Broker also needs to deal with many interesting characters along the way: some unreliable, some dishonest, some anxious, some indecisive, and the list goes on. The most patience is needed with the clients who ask as many questions as humanly possible, then pause to think of some more. This is normal, and part of human nature. Another of the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker is the patience to answer every question and stay on the phone with nervous clients as long as necessary.

ALWAYS PROSPECTING

This absolutely has to be one of the top qualities of a top real estate broker. This refers to finding new leads, or prospective clientele, on a regular basis. How it is done could fill an entire book (or at least another article) all on its own. For the time being, let’s recognize that one can never have too many potential customers in their pipeline. The well can “run dry” for anyone at any time, and there are no shortage of ways to prospect in our times.

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Improve Your Poor Credit Score and Secure Yourself a Loan

So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.

Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?

One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.

An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.

There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.

Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.

Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.

Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.

What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.

Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.

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Payment Options for Shopping All the Way

Everyone is busy. Busy in shopping online and in the malls. Popular online portals are breaking and making new sale records! All thanks to the convenience and the availability of easy payment options and funds!

Here are few of the factors that are making online businesses a success

Credit Cards: A credit card is plastic money. It is one of the easiest form in which a person gets a personal loan.

All online portals as well as retailers in malls accept credit cards issued by various banks.
Online payment becomes very simple and safe, thanks to the one time passwords generated for such transactions.
A PIN is sufficient for shopping using a credit card at any retail store.

Personal loans for shopping: When we apply for a personal loan, we don’t have to provide the financier with the details of what we want the loan for.

Thus these days’ personal loans are being used to finance shopping.
They can also be used as wedding loans, vacation loans and educational loans.

Payment Processing: As far as payment processing is concerned, the following factors matter to both the consumer and the online retailer.

Uncomplicated manoeuvring on website: It is important for the payment process to be step-by-step and easy to understand. Most websites work on this section very carefully and thus the online shopping experience is satisfactory.

Processing Costs: Processing costs matter to the retailers. More the processing fees they have to pay to providers of payment gateways like Visa, the lesser are their margins. So to have an effective business the processing costs need to be low.
Number of payment options: Multiple payment options should be available for the customer to make payment. This makes the shopping a convenient proposition.
Time taken to process transactions: Processing time not only tests your patience but sometimes also the strength of your internet connection!

Cash on Delivery: This is also known as “collection on delivery.” This is a very popular mode of making payments for shopping in the developing world.

It enhances impulse purchases.
A credit card is not an essential possession for the buyer.
The buyer can check the quality of the product and then pay

So this festive season, do not hesitate to shop and to gift! The availability of funds for shopping is not difficult anymore. Also the convenience of online shopping has brought various retailers to our doorstep. So let us shop all the way!

An easy way of shopping is using a credit card. It forms an integral part of most people’s financial planning. When used in the right manner, it helps reduce financial liability and optimizes financial resources.

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Are Online Personal Loans Good For People With Bad Credit?

While the rise of online lending in itself makes it more convenient for people to apply for finance, is this development a good thing for those who are already struggling? There are companies out there who charge expensive annual percentage rates (APRs), leaving many people in more trouble than when they first started.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, online lending has earned itself a bad reputation. The internet leaves many people vulnerable to fraud, so you should always exercise caution when inputting your financial details. The best way to make sure your information remains safe is to find a secure, reliable lending platform.

There is an unfair irony attached to lending today. Those with bad credit are often led to believe they have no financial options if they have made mistakes in the past, often making their situations seem more desperate than they actually are. This can result in people making bad decisions and can lead to borrowing through unstable sources.

Meanwhile, any lenders that do accept you with bad credit will charge extortionate interest rates because of your history, making it more difficult for you to meet your monthly repayment obligations – thus worsening your situation. This is a trap that many people fall into, and it gives online installment lenders a bad name.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you can find yourself a reliable lending platform, you will be connected to a secure network of trustworthy lenders who can offer sensible solutions to your borrowing needs. Many of these lenders will assess your application, even if your credit file isn’t perfect or your income is lower than average.

Instead of (or in some cases, as well as) running credit checks, these lenders will take other factors into consideration, including your income and employment circumstances, and how long you have lived at your current address. They may even ask for references they can contact who will vouch for your character personally.

Even those who receive benefits as a form of income will be able to apply, giving everyone a fair and carefully considered chance of borrowing money. In these cases, applicants won’t be accepted for higher loans than they can afford to pay back, and interest rates will be low, meaning there is a better chance of managing repayments.

If you have poor credit and need to borrow money, consider a personal installment loan, but make sure the APR is advertised between 5.99% and 35.99%. There should also be a number of options in terms of flexible repayment, offering you the chance to pay the money back anywhere between six months and six years, depending on what you can afford to pay per month.

Small, carefully considered personal loans could actually help you build a financial profile making you eligible for better future borrowing. As long as the lender is responsible, and offers reasonable interest rates, online lending platforms can actually give people with more opportunities than many other lenders in terms of improving their situation.

With this in mind, personal loans can be beneficial to those hoping to improve their credit score, but only if some caution is exercised by both parties, and you only apply to borrow an amount you can afford to pay back.

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Five Reasons for Refusal of a Personal Loan

Don’t you wish personal finance were a mandatory course in college? Unfortunately, too many of us learn by mistake. When you need a personal loan and are rejected, you might be baffled as to what went wrong- and how to fix it. Here are some clues.

NO CREDIT

No credit is a situation where you have never used credit and therefore have no credit history for the bank to review. They have no way of making an educated decision on whether or not you will pay back a personal loan based on your credit history. No credit is worse than bad credit. Qualifying for and making regular payments on these types of introductory forms of credit can overcome a “no credit” score:

· Student Loans

· Secured credit card (includes a down payment amount)

· Being added to a parent’s or spouses good credit: card, car loan, etc.

LOW CREDIT

Low credit takes on several forms. If you’re using more than 30% of your allowable debt, it can negatively impact your score. Too many inquiries from shopping around for loans will also hit you hard. Lapses in payment, defaults, or bankruptcies are giant red flags and can take a long time to rebuild from.

Other things that lenders may look at are whether or not you have sizeable assets should you default on the loan. They also check to see if your debts are diversified or if you are only carrying one type of debt.

INCOME

Proof of income is generally required when applying for a personal loan. If you are unemployed or underemployed, it can work against you in the loan approval process. Lenders may also require a work history to see how long you have been with your current employer, and to determine if you typically have job stability. Frequent job loss or change will tell a creditor that your payments may not be reliable.

PURPOSE OF THE LOAN

Believe it or not, your application can be rejected due to your proposed purpose for the loan. Financial institutions have the right to set up the parameters surrounding their disbursements and can accept or reject your application based on what you want to use the money for.

BLACKLISTING

If you’ve defaulted on debt before, your name may be put on a list of whom not to loan to,’ also known as a “Blacklist.” This will follow you around for a long time and is difficult to erase. If you do resolve the debt issues, get documents to prove the resolution.

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How Can A Personal Loan Improve Your Credit Score?

When it comes to a personal loan, you have to first learn to use it responsibly. Because if you miss a repayment, your credit score will be impacted adversely. And remember, that a credit score is an indicator of how well you manage your personal finances. Also, it plays a defining role when you apply for any kind of loan – secured and unsecured. It is suggested to apply for a loan slightly larger than what is needed so that you will be assured to have enough money to pay all bills necessary and still have some money left over to ensure that your bank account stays current.

A credit score can be defined as a number which reflects the financial situation of a person. If the person is well-off when it comes to financial matters, then he or she is said to have a high credit score. On the other hand, if a person is the exact opposite of this, then they possess a low credit score. There are a lot of factors that are considered by financial institutions for the purpose of evaluating a person’s credit score – usually, the credit scores of people vary from 300 to about 850.

A personal loan is a type of loan that is given by digital lenders, banks and credit unions to aid you in your plans, be it starting a small business, or making a big purchase. Personal loans tend to have an interest rate(s) lower than the credit cards; however, they can also be put to use for combining several credit card debts together into one monthly lower-cost payment.

Now, your credit score is built by keeping in mind various parameters from your credit reports. These reports serve the purpose of trailing your history of utilization of the credit across the duration of seven years. These credit reports are comprised of information, including how much credit you have utilized to date, the type of credit in your possession, the age of one’s credit accounts, whether one has put in for bankruptcy or liens filed against them, actions of debt collections taken against them, one’s total open lines of credit as well as recent inquiries for hard credit.

Like any other type of credit, personal loans are very capable of affecting your credit score. This can be done through the process of applying and withdrawing a personal loan. If you are curious as to how personal loans can end up affecting your credit, then read on to find out more about the context. There are many ways in which your credit can be affected by personal loans and some of them are listed below:

The ratio of your debt-to-income and loan

Debt-to-income ratio is considered to be the measure of your amount of income that you spend on the debt repayments. In the case of lenders, the amount of income that you receive is said to be one of the major factors proving that you are able to repay your loan.

Some of the lenders have come up with their own debt-to-income ratio so that their proprietary credit scores may make use of it in the form of a credit consideration. Do not fall into the kind of mindset that possessing a high amount of a loan would hurt your credit. The most damage it can do is raise the ratio of your debt-to-income so that you won’t be able to apply for loans anymore without it getting rejected or denied.

Paying loans on time will make credit scores soar

The moment your loan is approved, you have to make sure that you settle the payments of each month on time and in full. Delay in repayment may significantly impact the state of your credit score. However, on the other hand, if you make the payments on time every month, then your credit score will soar high, leading to an overall good score. This will not only make your name to the preferred borrower’s list, but it will prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.

Since your payment history is comprised of almost 35% of your credit score, paying loans on time is essential in cases like these so that your credit score can maintain a positive status.

Variety is built into your credit type

There are about five factors that are responsible for determining your credit score. These are composed of the payment history, the length of the credit history, the utilization ratio of the credit, the credit mix and new inquiries of the credit in accordance with FICO®.

The credit mix only accounts for about 35% of your total credit score, whereas when it comes to a personal loan you can have a varying mix of the credit types. This mix of all types of credit is viewed at a high level of approval by the creditors and lenders.

Origination fee charged by loans

Most of the lenders end up charging you an origination fee. This fee cannot be avoided at any cost and is instantly taken off from the amount of the loan payment. The amount of origination fees depends upon the amount of the loan you are about to borrow. Late payments can lead to an overdraft of fees and late expenses. Therefore, make sure that you pay complete repayment for each month before the deadline.

Avoiding penalties when it comes to payments

Some of the credit lenders tend to charge an additional fee if you end up paying your part of the loan earlier than the agreed date. This is because they are looking for moderate amounts of interest on your loan. Now, seeing that you have paid off your part of the loan before time, they will miss out on that interest that they could have possibly made if you had not cleared the debt soon enough before the deadline.

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