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.

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.