If mummies ran the world, the world would likely:

  • have fewer wars (no mummy wants to lose her precious baby to some wartime accident);
  • have a balanced budget (no mummy lets the household spending get ahead of where the family is financially, and a mummy knows EXACTLY where that is — down to the halfpence, pfenning, sou, centime, penny, lira);
  • have good health care for all, and the ability to pay for good health care for all (a good mummy makes sure her babies have health care, and she’ll beat down the doors of power to make sure that the health care is covered);
  • be well fed (no mummy willingly lets her children go hungry);
  • have a clean and well-tended planet (mummies do not live in dirt — certainly mine doesn’t).

Maybe the Powers That Be should get themselves wrapped up in linen strips and learn to hang around with the mummies for a few millenia. The mummies have it right. They certainly have it WAY better than do the Leaders Of Industry who are hanging around Congress begging for a bailout.

Tesla, Awaiting U.S. Aid, Unveils Its Electric Car –

Tesla, Awaiting U.S. Aid, Unveils Its Electric Car – (subscription required)

A Silicon Valley startup, called Tesla Motors (can’t help but notice the similarity in name to Nicola Tesla, the inventor of the radio … any relation?), has a fully electric sedan that they’re itching to build. They can’t get their design past the modeling stage without a $450M loan from the Feds. Fed loan money has pretty much dried up thanks to the credit crisis, leaving us gas guzzlers laying down our trail of carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes as we drive our fossil fueled sedans, SUVs, and Keystone Kops Kars through the streets.

Tesla has spent $50M developing their new electric sedan — the Model S — and needs $250-300M more. They’ve gotten $186M from investors and need the rest on loan from the government.

The government isn’t lending money right now. This is choking Tesla and other green-energy startups … I hope not completely to death, since I like the idea of a fully electric sedan. I hope it has the power to handle highway speeds.

I also hope that their new fully electric car will be priced and made available such that Real People like you and me can afford to buy it, unlike Tesla’s other product, a $109,000 Roadster that is out in a very limited edition of 300 cars (with 1000 wannabe owners waiting in line). This is a product that everyone needs to be able to afford. Gasoline prices will skyrocket again soon enough (supply and demand requires that; gasoline is a finite resource) and gas-powered internal combustion engines are eating the planet alive. A fully electric car, powered with renewable energy, is just the ticket.

IF they makes its new car affordable and powerful enough to handle highways, Tesla just might have a herd of Proboscidea by the very large collective tail. If they price it and do limited production runs such that only multi-millionaires can buy it, the planet and the public will suffer.

60% of older workers are postponing retirement



CareerBuilder conducted a survey wherein they asked older workers about retirement plans.

Retirement? What’s that? The economic downturn prevents 60% of people who want to retire — who have worked and scrimped and saved their whole lives long in hopes of living the good life — from leaving the work force.

There are those of us who simply don’t want to retire. I, for example, have a delightful time working, I enjoy my business enormously and I plan to go to my grave with my fingers on the keyboard clacking out some client-related legal document. That doesn’t say I don’t enjoy having the option to retire, and it certainly doesn’t say that I don’t enjoy taking time off to visit some tropical paradise.

Some just want to go and live on that tropical island. They’ve been saving for it all their lives. They dreamed from the time they were tots about leaving the winter behind as they fall off the edge of the workaday world and into their dream.

The dream ain’t happening. Money doesn’t let it happen. It’ll be a few years before these folks feel secure enough to take that plunge. 

This may not be a bad thing: I have it from the horse’s mouth that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And, according to MedPageToday, early retirement may spell — well, disaster.

So suck it up, Boomers, and keep the work fires burning. Starting a business is a grand way to keep your finger in the non-retired pot — and on your own terms.

The Credit Crisis, visually represented

The Crisis of Credit Visualized, Part 1

The Crisis of Credit Visualized, Part 2

These two videos are a good representation/explanation of how we got where we are today. They were posted on YouTube by graphixmdp last week. I post them here because the economy stinks right now and I think it’s important for everyone to understand why. These videos are short, interesting, and they explain why.

It's only just begun…


money money money money money money money money...


Recession Worst in Three Decades – Bloomberg.


The Economy. The downturn we’re seeing right now is likely to be only the beginning of what could well be a multi-year depression. People are losing jobs by the millions (time to go into business for themselves?) and the economy as a whole is predicted to shrink by almost 2% this year alone.

The economists are shrieking that is the worst economic downturn that we’ve seen since the mid-1970s, and it may go further and exceed that. Let’s hope we don’t have another Great Depression on our hands.

And it’s not just the USA that’s feeling the pinch. This downturn is global.

The economic stimulus bill has passed (even in the Senate, though by only one vote) and is now in effect, and that may help a little, but I bet it won’t do nearly all of what it’s supposed to do. The lack of jobs pinch the consumers’ wallets and thus the hoped-for spending bump is not likely to happen.

We’ll come through this crisis, but recovery will take time and recovery will be slow and painful. It will be the small businesses that will get us through, though; the day of the corporate behemoth being economic salvation has passed. Small businesses are blossoming as corporate America lays off more and more workers who decide that they’ve had enough of getting laid off and start their own businesses.

A word of caution to you newly laid off entrepreneurs, though: You need good legal and accounting advice. Recognize before you start that your business will start out as a money pit. Your income will vary wildly from month to month. You will struggle and sweat, your books will bleed red ink, and you will wonder why on earth you ever did this to yourself. You may, in fact, go under. Or you may succeed beyond the dreams of avarice.

So here’s to the economic downturn; may it be a well-disguised upturn.

Facebook Repeals Copyright Plan – I4U News UK

Facebook Repeals Copyright Plan – I4U News UK.

The Public Has Spoken.

Facebook put new Terms of Service into effect on its website a couple of weeks ago. Those terms basically said that Facebook has a royalty-free license forevermore to use for any purpose anything that any user posts on the site.

The users roared loudly enough to get the Facebook IP lawyers to listen. They’ve backed down on that one now.

Way to go, Facebook Users!

Microsoft Wins 10,000th Patent

Microsoft Wins 10,000th Patent – Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness.

US Patent No. 7,479,950, issued to Microsoft, applies to Surface tabletop computing technology, which provides instant access to digital information in a novel, useful and nonobvious way, the goal being to make interactions between the physical and virtual worlds more seamless.

Microsoft is famous for aggressive protection of its intellectual property; that they now have 10,000 patents (and counting) backs that position up. They spend about $8 billion per year on R&D and regularly haul out the guns in patent warfare; their current target is open-source software, which they claim violates at least 40 Microsoft patents.

This is why Microsoft stock does well. This is why they survive, despite the worldwide snarl that the name engenders. Microsoft is a prime example of a company that has leveraged nothing but intellectual property into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

And to think it all started with a college drop-out.

The rise and almost fall of America's banks – Yahoo News

The rise and almost fall of America’s banks – Yahoo News.

This is scary.

The lifeblood of the economy is businesses borrowing money. But banks are not lending money any longer, to anyone. They are holding onto money with fists tighter than a python’s hug.

Thus, the economy slows and grinds to a halt. Jobs are lost by the boatload. Homes are foreclosed on. Cars are repossessed. Taxes rise. Wealth goes rapidly down the tubes.

So how do we get out of this mess?

Not every business can do this with my solution because other businesses have more capital equipment needs than does a solo lawyer. I have a bunch of business cards, an old laptop, a workhorse printer, a fax machine, a cellphone, a PDA and a few file cabinets and bookcases. I’m set. Those who need more technology are in trouble.

The economy may work in cycles, but I don’t think I like this cycle. No, I don’t like this cycle one little bit. Maybe I’ll ramp up a personal bankruptcy practice.

IP Audit a Necessity for Due Diligence

What IS an IP audit, anyway?

An IP audit is a systematic categorization of all of your business’s intellectual property, including but not limited to:

  • Inventions (patented and unpatented)
  • Copyrights (registered and unregistered)
  • Trademarks (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Dress (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Secrets (obviously unregistered)

This categorization, with a simultaneous search for areas where your IP may have “holes,” is done by an intellectual property attorney in cooperation with your firm’s management team; despite the word “audit,” this is NOT an accounting function (although certainly an accountant belongs on your firm’s management team and probably on the IP audit team).

Use an IP audit as due diligence when you plan to merge, divest, buy, sell, create, license, franchise your property. Also use an IP audit when there has been a shift in the law that governs IP.

For more information about IP audits, read Nancy’s article, published in the December 2003 issue of Les Nouvelles (the flagship publication of the Licensing Executives’ Society), The Intellectual Property Audit (.pdf format) or visit our IP Audit webpage.