Developing A Strong Trademark And Copyright Strategies Can Be Vital To A Business

A company’s trademarks, whether in the company’s name, or likeness, or in that of its products, are crucial to protecting the goodwill generated through its investment in people and capital. It is significant to its brand, as it helps identify and protect the integrity of a brand, and ensures that the company distinguishes itself from its competitors. The trademark also readily informs the consumer that the goods or services are of a certain quality or standard. The goodwill derived from a strong trademark can improve business by giving the consumer a positive impression about the product and doing business with the company itself.

Trademark rights arise from actual use of a name, logo or symbol in the marketplace. There are several actions that a company can take in order to protect its trademark portfolio, namely its registered trademarks, service marks, unregistered trademarks, domain names and corresponding copyrights.

A first suggestion is to develop a strategy to determine which marks are important, and how, where and when the trademark rights are to be asserted. This action includes determining which legal jurisdictions are important from a business and marketing perspective. Once a trademark attorney has conducted the necessary trademark searches and cleared a proposed mark, it is advisable to rapidly file for a federal trademark registration. The timing of an application for registration is also critical because typically the first to file takes priority over subsequent filings in respect of identical or similar marks. Once the proposed mark is registered, it is important to note the registration date and the renewal date in order to ensure continuous protection of the mark.

Another action relates to trademark usage. In managing a trademark portfolio, it is important to ensure that rights do not lapse due to non-use of the mark. Depending on the relevant jurisdiction, the ownership rights to a mark may lapse if the mark has not been used for a period of three to five years. It is important to implement programs based on a competent attorney’s advice to ensure continued use, or at least a seasonal or rotational use of marks to prevent cancellation or revocation of them. It is also advisable to ensure correct usage of the marks because they can lose their distinctiveness and value if they become eroded.

A recommended strategy to maximize the value of a trademark portfolio is to be vigilant and to take swift action to prevent infringement or deal with it accordingly when it is detected. The owner of a trademark portfolio must be prepared to take action to preserve rights by employing both defensive and offensive strategies. Defensive strategies, including marking the products with TM, SM and ® symbols can help reduce legal fees and establish legal damages through fair warning to would-be infringers. Defensive tactics also include conducting consistent surveillance of the market place and the competitors’ activities, and educating the consumer on how to identify genuine products as well as alerting them of infringing products.

Numerous offensive strategies are advisable as well. For instance, a company can appeal or oppose the registration of marks that are identical or confusingly similar to its own marks. It is also advisable to issue cease and desist letters, or publish warnings when infringement is detected.

In taking these actions, it is advisable to seek the best legal consultation regarding the management of the trademark portfolio, itself, as well as determining the instances and nature of potential infringement. Leading trademark counsel are also effective advocates that can provide advice and counsel on how to deal with infringement, through amicable resolution or an enforcement action if necessary.

Therefore, choosing the best law firm that is qualified to provide sound legal advice on trademark and copyrights related matters is a critical issue for any business venture. Good advice can mean a strong brand in the marketplace that serves to protect capital investment and deter infringement by competitors. The alternative is erosion of goodwill with customers, and easy infringement. The latter may mean loss a fortune in human and financial.

FAQs About Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance is one of the biggest costs involved in riding your motorcycle. Whether your ride is a scooter or a sports bike it’s best to get the best value insurance policy that covers everything you need.

What determines the cost of motorcycle insurance

Your personal details

In the insurance business, age is a common determinant for risk. Male riders under 25 are considered the most likely to file claim, whereas female and older riders are more likely to receive lower premiums. Occupation may also come into play in factoring premiums, depending on whether the coverage compensates you for time missed at work.

Where you live

A big influence on the cost of your car insurance is where you live. The chance of your car being broken into or stolen is a key concern for the insurer. More urban areas traditionally facing greater risk of theft and therefore tend to be more expensive than countryside locations.

The type of bike you own

The type of bike you own can greatly affect your insurance premium. Naturally, a more expensive bike will cost an insurer more to fix or replace. Motorbikes with better engines and faster speeds will represent a greater risk for collision as well as damage caused by an accident.

Older model bikes may require more maintenance and difficulty securing repair parts. For motorbikes older than 20 years, it would be wise to seek an insurer that specialises in classic bikes and cars.

Who else will be riding the bike

Adding another rider to the policy will affect the overall cost. Adding an experienced motorist will generally lower your premium. Conversely, adding a younger individual may escalate costs.

As each insurance company weighs these factors differently, you will find fluctuations in the prices you are quoted. Cheaper rates most likely find your situation more amenable to their particular risk formula.

Usage of the bike

The more often you ride your bike, the more likely you will be involved in an accident. Moreover, bikes that are used for commuting represent a greater risk than those ridden for pleasure, due to the difference in traffic. Residents living in high traffic postcodes may also experience higher insurance costs.

Storage and security measures

Theft represents another concern for insurance companies when calculating premiums. Alarms or anti-theft devices such as an immobiliser, bike lock, or ground anchor can mitigate this risk. In some cases, an insurer might recommend a specific brand or anti-theft device to their consumers.

Parking your bike in a garage can further alleviate theft concerns. Insurance companies will also factor in the crime rate in your postcode before settling on a quote.

Previous claims or convictions

Riders who have made previous claims or suffered motoring convictions present a greater risk to insurers. If you fall into one of these categories, it may be best to seek a company that specialises in insuring convicted riders

Your excess

The excess is the amount of any claim that your insurer will expect you to cover. For example, your riding your bike and you have an accident your bike now needs repairs worth £1000 and your excess is £100, you’ll have to pay £100 and your insurer will pay the remainder.

The more cost you are willing to absorb, the lower your premium. Having a high excess is ideal for riders who travel infrequently or on less busy roads. Those who commute daily may want a lower excess in order to file a claim for minor accidents. This, in turn, will elevate the cost of insurance.

No Claims Discount

Save up your no claims discount by avoiding making small claims upon your policy. After a set number of years, 4 or 5 typically, you’ll often be offered the option to pay an additional small premium to protect your no claims bonus. This can prove very helpful if you subsequently end up having an accident.

Advanced driving skills

By taking an advanced driving course you may also be able to reduce your premiums. The Institute for Advanced Motorists and the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents each offer membership which provides you with discounts for both the cost of driving courses and your car insurance premiums. Two key variables NOT within the policyholder’s control

Consolidating policies

By insuring a number of vehicles with the same insurer, or by trying to take out home and life insurance through your car insurer, you may be able to secure a ‘bulk buy’ discount.

One final piece of advice

A large percentage of insurance is now sold on the Internet. That’s because it’s convenient and cheap. Many insurers now give a further 10%-15% discount if you buy online.

Level of cover

Third party

This covers the policy holder against damage to a third party’s property or to the third party themselves. Third party only bike insurance cover is usually a cheap motorcycle insurance policy compared to Third Party Fire and Theft or Comprehensive motorcycle insurance.

For example, if you have an accident with another vehicle and it is your fault then the Third Party Only policy will pay for the repair to that other vehicle, and will pay for any medical claims or injuries suffered by the occupant(s) of the other vehicle and your pillion rider. A Third Party Only bike insurance policy will not pay for the costs of repairing your own vehicle nor will it pay anything toward your medical expenses if you are injured. In addition, if your vehicle is stolen or is set on fire, a Third Party Only policy will not make any payment toward the theft or repair of the vehicle.

Third Party Fire & Theft

This is exactly the same as the Third Party Only motorcycle insurance policy, set out above, however a Third Party Fire and Theft UK motorcycle policy will pay out in the event that your vehicle is stolen or is set on fire.

Fully Comprehensive

A Fully comprehensive UK motorcycle insurance policy will pay-out for third party damages and injuries, will pay-out in the event of your vehicle being stolen or set on fire, and will also pay for any damage to your own motorcycle regardless of whose fault the accident was.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Cleaning Your Home Without Any Use of Chemicals

We have gotten used to relying on a whole range of chemical products for the cleaning of our homes and offices without paying attention to how harmful such substances can be for the health or the environment.Every household actually uses stain removers and all sorts of solvents to get clean clothes, impeccable kitchens and germ-free bathrooms. However, with the development of the environmental awareness, some companies have started producing eco-friendly cleaning products. Most spot and stain removers in the eco-category are now derived from natural resources, with plant or vegetable ingredients in organic solvents.

It is false to absorb that eco-friendly cleaning products can not eliminate resistant stains and stains such as nail polish, wax, ball-point ink, glue, resins or dyes from solid or textile surfaces. If we manage to eliminate such prejudices and actually try some eco-friendly cleaning solution, we may be pleasantly surprised by the results. It is paradoxical how we soil and litter our planet while making efforts to remove the dirt from daily life. Why switch to eco-friendly cleaning? First of all your home will be clean from toxic fumes and chemicals, you will sleep better and enjoy a great sense of well-being.

There will be less health hazards for children and babies who may come in contact with toxic cleaning residues. Nor will there be any more fumes from spray bottles. Poisons should be a no-no in our lives. You can eliminate the hazardousous substances by using household pickup days, and replacing them with safer versions. Eco-friendly cleaning provides a safer environment for your children. Moreover, the fewer chemicals you use, the fewer toxic materials will be evacuated in the waste water stream. If you do not have eco-friendly cleaning products ready-made for a certain task, there are homemade solutions available too.

The Internet abounds with eco-friendly cleaning tips, you just need a bit of time, interest and patience to see how to deal with the issue. Not only the cleaning agents should be changed with eco products, but the cleaning accessories as well. Sponges, mops and rags should be all reusable and natural. A responsible human being living in the 21st century should mind the durability, health and environment impact of the products he / she purchases for home use. This kind of changes will also bring considered savings.