Things your kids can do to help during the move

Moving to a new home in a new city certainly has the potential to create anxiety in kids.  And that’s completely understandable considering they’re leaving behind familiar faces and places.  The good news is, there are things you can do to help them through the transition. If they’re old enough, letting them lend a hand can help them feel like an important part of the process.  In fact, encouraging them to get involved might even help them feel less like they’re being forced to move away and more like they’re part of the decision. Consider including your kids in the following moving activities:

 

Planning – Why not take them house-hunting with you?  You can let them check out potential neighborhoods and schools and give their opinion on whether the house is a winner or a loser in their book.  Then once you’ve found a home, let them check out their room and help plan the layout and décor (seeing a picture works if a physical trip isn’t possible). This gives them a chance to begin imagining their new life. 

 

Checklists – Give each child a to-do list that includes some fun tasks along with some “must –do’s”.  Have them sort through the toys they don’t play with anymore or clothing they’ve out-grown and let them decide whether they want to donate or sell (if you’re planning a garage sale).  Make sure to assign age-appropriate tasks.

 

Packing – If they’re old enough, let them pack their own room. But before they start, show them how to properly sort through their things, wrap, pack and label each box.  You’ll probably have to help them through a few, but once they get the hang of it, it could make things fun for them.  They’ll have a sense of where their things are located and where they’re going.  Make it more fun by inviting their friends over to help and have a packing party— complete with pizza!

 

Garage Sale – If you’re having a garage sale, have the kids make flyers and post them around the neighborhood.  Allow them to help put price tags on the items and help with customers on garage-sale day.  You might even let them keep the proceeds from any of their own items that sell.

 

Moving Day – If your kids are old enough to stay home on moving day, let them help out (if they’re too young, I recommend asking friends or family to watch them on moving day).  Once everything is packed, ask them to check the yard for trash, check for leftover boxes to recycle etc.  If you have pets, allow your children to take care of them during the move— walk the dog, feed and water them, etc.

 

Helping your kids feel like they’re contributing to the moving process goes a long way in helping them feel good about the move.  What ways did your kids help on moving day?

 

If you need a lending hand while moving your house, a professional moving company like US Border Movers can help move your valuable items to your new house.

 

Reviewing employee benefits

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In the current economic climate, employee benefits are possibly one of the last things on many employers’ minds; unless they are thinking of ways to cut back on costs by reducing spending on benefits or removing schemes altogether. For example, the company that my colleague formerly worked for removed the employer’s contribution from the pension scheme following a consultation exercise. Basically the choice was that the pension contribution had to be removed, otherwise redundancies would be necessary.

These often necessary changes to employee benefits are nonetheless extremely damaging to employee morale, and to keep hearing negative news with nothing to counteract it will increase the negative effects of the recession, i.e. employee insecurity, depression and de-motivation. However the budgets for employee benefits will continue to be squeezed, making it hard for HR or Reward/Benefits departments to maintain morale and faith in the company when they’re taking away the very things they have used to increase it in the past.

This is a perfect time to review the benefits package on offer to employees. In the same way that different benefits will appeal to different employees due to their varying personal circumstances, benefit choices will change depending on the external environment and the ways in which employees need to be supported.

As I said a few weeks ago, when I recently visited my GP he told me that his workload had increase due to the recession as he was treating a lot of stress and depression related illnesses. When I have consulted in the past on employee benefits, an employee assistance programme has been one of the least popular choices, but at the moment I bet a lot of workers across the company could really benefit from this kind of service. Another option that could help out a lot of people at the moment might be providing some time with a financial advisor; so that people can discuss their options if they have concerns about mortgage, loans or credit card repayments. This would be a fairly low-cost option but shows that the employer is aware of the personal issues facing many people at this time.

Companies should also consider flexible working options as an alternative to financially-based benefits, for example offering flexitime would be a great boost to many people; and although this might be quite difficult to set up initially, does not have a long term cost. Giving employees the opportunity to purchase additional holidays means that people can choose to take more time off if they wish (and therefore does not impose another benefit that some people may not necessarily want) and if employees purchase the days, can actually save the company money in salary and National Insurance payments.

This is a time for HR and benefits professionals to be creative with their budgets and time, rather than simply taking everything away and sending out the message that there is nothing that can be done because of the recession. Some companies, like Solvo Global, offer employee wellness programs for other companies, it might be helpful.

 

Best money market and the investor’s trust

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The market involves giving short term loans against the security of fixed or movable assets and making it easy for the borrowers and lenders to take the loan easily from the market. The best money market is the market which is used for trading of money in several forms  according to the needs of the customers. The things traded in the money market are federal funds, certificates of deposits, bankers acceptances, commercial paper, treasury bills, short lived asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities.The best money market provides a lot networks and services where the customer requires funds and services from the market to meet up his emerging needs by exchanging some fixed and immovable assets in place for the loan taken. In this market the  instruments with short maturities and high liquidities are traded. The market is used by numerous participants which include companies raising money through the market by selling commercial paper to the investors through certificates of deposits which is a very safe place to put the money for a short period of time.

 

The best money market is the market which does not have many risks involved and the investor can invest easily.

The money market helps the investors to have a good and and safe mode of investment where the investor does not have to worry about his investments and the fluctuations in the market. The best money market is just a short span of keeping the money safe and to earn some returns as well. In the money market the investor has a chance to earn a huge amount while investing in a short span of time. In the money market the when the investor invests in short term funds then the financial instrument is called as paper however if the investor goes for a long term fund which is usually more than a year then the instrument is called as the equity and bonds. The best money market is thus the most important and the most demanded financial instruments by the investors. The real core of the money market consists of banks, where the inter bank transactions of borrowing and lending with the use of repurchase agreements, commercial paper and many other instruments have helped the money market to grow. These instruments used by the banks are priced according to the London Interbank offered rate for the appropriate currency and term.

 

The best money market is the market where the investors believe that their investments are in safe hands. The money market is related to the bear market where the price of securities are falling down and the flow of pessimism causes a negative feeling to become self-sustaining. Mostly the investor tends to forget the ups and downs of the market while they are busy enjoying the money they have earned from the bull market. But this part of investment is true and every investor has to go through this patch of the risk return trade-off. It is always said by economists and big investors that to earn big the investor needs to take higher risks. Many investors who are new to investment cannot do these types of volatile investments so they think that the best way to earn and be safe is to invest in the best money market which is a kind of substitute to the high risk investments. A way to enter this field safely is to hire a specialized company to assist you, like Erlybird. The money market is known as a place where the government and large institutions take their short needs of cash from.  Thus the money market is the best money market amongst all types to invest safely and earn a nominal amount.

Why Women of Color Worry of a Career Lull

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Women of color have had some success getting ahead in the workplace during the past few years, but some fear those opportunities are behind them, according to a study. The survey of 368 women, 59% of whom are black, was conducted by Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization based in New York. The study, a follow-up with blacks, Hispanics and Asian-American women Catalyst surveyed in 1998, shows that 57% of the respondents received at least one promotion since that time through 2001, which is consistent with other studies of white women and women of color. The study also found women of color earn 37% more than they did in 1998, roughly consistent with the salary growth of white women professionals and managers. Data for the study was collected in 2001 but not released until now. Yet Catalyst found that women of color are less hopeful about their career prospects than they were in 1998. Lack of mentors, networking opportunities, role models and high-visibility assignments continue to dog them. For example, in 2001, just 27% of women felt that opportunities have improved during the past three years, compared with 48% in 1998. Meanwhile, 32% of respondents said opportunities for women of their own racial/ethnic groups to advance to senior leadership positions have declined, compared with 15% in 1998. Black women are more likely than Hispanics and Asian-Americans to feel that opportunities have declined rather than improved, the study found. Sheila Wellington, president of Catalyst, said in an interview that women of color have made considerable career progress during the three-year period, but as they move up the ranks, the pyramid gets narrower. “Women of color refer to a concrete ceiling — and they call it concrete because they can’t even see through it,” she said. Another factor, she said, is that the economy isn’t as strong as it was when the first study was conducted. Wall Street is a particularly tough nut to crack for women of color. While it is difficult being a woman in the still-white- male-dominated business, women of color seem to have two strikes against them. “To a certain extent I’m already judged before I even open my mouth,” said Donna Wilson, senior vice president and director of community affairs at Washington Mutual Inc. Ms. Wilson said she still battles the perception that she is merely “window dressing.” She also must deal with the assumptions people make about her because she is black. “Just because you’re an African-American doesn’t mean you’ve been to Harlem,” she said. Women of color who have found success in their careers say they have had to be particularly vigilant and opportunistic. Having good mentors is also crucial, they said. Or help from an external human resource management high staff, like Solvo Global. Indeed, the Catalyst study found that 69% of women who had a mentor in 1998 had at least one upward career move, compared with 49% of those without a mentor. Furthermore, the greater number of mentors, the greater the number of upward moves. Moreover, the number of women who have mentors has increased. “To go from 35% having mentors to 58% in a three-year period is extremely encouraging, because you’re not going to make it if you don’t have a mentor,” Ms. Wellington of Catalyst said. “You have to be aggressive about finding the people who will lead you through,” said Amy Ellis-Simon, a director of convertible-bond sales at Merrill Lynch & Co. at a recent networking event for black women on Wall Street held at Merrill’s offices. The event drew more than 200 people. The study was sponsored by McDonald’s Corp., Gillette Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.

Leadership Assessment

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Before a leader can begin honing their leadership skills and abilities, they need to know where to concentrate their energies. Once each leader knows where they’re strong and weak with respect to key leadership skills, they can begin a process of leveraging their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. 

Based on one of the largest leadership studies in two decades, it is known that those areas are critical to leadership success. Using a survey methodology, the assessment measures the qualities and skills necessary for breakthrough success, and evaluates the effectiveness of the organizational context in which a leader operates.

Among the key leadership skills evaluated in the assessment are as follows.

  • Right Person, Right Place, Right Now! Exceptional leaders know they will have to assemble and align the right collection of talent to face the challenges that lie ahead. The Leadership We need to measure how well leaders are able to invest their available human capital to maximize individual, team and organizational success.
  • Cut Through the Noise. The best leaders understand that chaos and “noise” rise in tandem with volatility, undermining a leader’s ability to communicate. Notice how well leaders cut through the noise with effective communication to implement their strategies for success.
  • Negotiate Through Consensus. Great negotiators create solutions more powerful and effective than anything that parties to the negotiation could have achieved individually. 
  • Outposition Your Competitors. In a rapidly changing business environment, competition intensifies and resources grow scarce. Pay attention to how well leaders uncover, build and leverage personal and organizational competitive advantages.
  • Partner With Customers. Now, more than ever, customer satisfaction and retention are key to success. How well leaders plug into that power source to drive current and future revenues.
  • Heal the Wounds of Change. Successful leaders demonstrate a keen awareness of human suffering in all of its forms and an ability to reduce suffering by refocusing energies on the healing process. How well leaders key into healing challenges and begin the healing process.

The results of creating a great leader come from a combination of strategic action. One of those is having motivational speeches at your company – if you are considering hiring one, check Richard Jacick and his great results.

Essentials to Succeed as a Search Engine Marketing Specialist

To succeed as an economist, one needs a thorough understanding of economic concepts and an ability to view and observe and analyze the world markets. To succeed as an artist, one needs a creative mind, discipline, and the ability to project and present emotion and story. To succeed as a professional search engine marketing specialist, what does one need to succeed?

Proper Search Engine Marketing Tools and Skills

Keywords to target cannot be based only on common sense. When targeting keywords for a targeted internet marketing campaign, internet marketing specialists and search engine marketers know that they need the best ones that take into account the online business that’s being marketed as well as the target audiences that’s being marketed to. They also consider the budget of their client and how to make the most out of any amount through search marketing tactics.

Because there are so many factors to consider when doing keyword research for an SEO campaign, there are keyword research tools and software available to newbie online advertisers, internet marketing specialists, and expert search engine marketers. Any professional search engine marketing specialist should know which tools to use and how exactly to use them for proper keyword research.

Basic Programming Languages for SEO

On-site SEO is among the most important factors for ranking highly in SERPs. For websites that are already up but need more search power, any professional search engine marketing specialist needs to understand the back-end and know exactly how to make necessary changes. For those that have yet to be developed, any professional search engine marketing specialist need to be able to properly communicate with their clients’ website developers for the best possible on-site SEO strategy to be in place as soon as the website launches.

Often, a professional search engine marketing specialist has to handle on-site SEO this themselves, especially if they’re not part of a firm that employs programmers as well. For the professional search engine marketing specialist that’s working alone, it is important to have sufficient knowledge in basic programming languages such as HTML and CSS in order to optimize their clients’ sites properly.

Legitimate Link Building Tactics

Link building is easy enough for any internet user. Anyone can simply submit sites on thousands of web directories, post comments on various blogs, bookmark pages on social bookmarking sites, and other similar tactics. When it comes to having the most number of links anywhere on the Web, any internet user simply needs to invest some time and effort and post their links wherever they possibly can.

However, only the professional search engine marketing specialist knows the most effective link building strategies as well as the most ethical ones. They are familiar with types of links that do not affect SEO and those that make huge differences. The professional search engine marketing specialist is also familiar with sites, tools, and software that can help them pursue proper link building strategies efficiently.

 

Search Engine Marketing Reporting and Monitoring Tools

For any professional search engine marketing specialist, being able to monitor and report the progress and results of SEO campaigns is essential, especially when they have very hands-on clients. To manage this requirement, they need proper and powerful search engine marketing reporting tools that cover important data. Such tools will not only help them monitor campaigns for reporting to clients but also for further optimizing their efforts.

There are a number of search engine marketing reporting tools available. Some of them are free and some of them aren’t. Whichever the professional search engine marketing specialist prefers to use doesn’t make much of a difference. As long as the tools they prefer cover the data that they need to report as well as optimize their SEO campaigns, they should do fine. Important data may include constantly updated lists of related keywords, page rankings for keywords used in the campaign, quality score for each keyword, number of backlinks available, and the like.

Knowledge on concepts is just the beginning of a career in SEO. To succeed, a professional search engine marketing specialist needs to have skills, creativity and technical knowledge as well as access to proper tools and the skills to use them properly to run the best possible campaign. If you want to know more about SEO, access Sudent Marketing Agency.

Permanent Brand Visibility

Most of us battle to expose our brands to our target groups for just a minute a day. We produce and air 30-second TV spots worth millions of dollars. We mount billboard campaigns that, amongst the hundreds of other roadside structures, are barely noticed. It’s a fact of life these days: Ensuring your brand’s message is able to cut through advertising clutter has become an almost impossible task.

Having said that, what are your plans once your brand has achieved its audience’s awareness and your target group understands your brand’s core values, products, and services? Do you still plan to use the classic media strategies that can be overlapped, crowded out, and squeezed by competitor brands?

If your product belongs to the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand category, you’re luckier than many. FMCGs by their nature are able to secure a more permanent brand visibility than less-frequently bought goods. Your core consumers are likely to see your brand every time they open their refrigerator doors, set their dining tables, or go to their pantries. But, despite the fact that such visibility is often fleeting and habitual, how does it compare with the visibility of other brand categories, such as service brands or business-to-business (B2B) brands?

Recently I encountered a range of interesting Web-based tools that enable marketers to convert a brand’s initial attention-grab into permanent brand awareness. They’re tools that offer medium-sized and large corporations the possibility of solidifying and directing their brand images at a comparatively cheaper cost.

Let’s think about that for a second. Microsoft is probably the best-known example of a company that fights for space on everyone’s desktop. Internet Explorer had absolutely no chance to beat Netscape Navigator before Microsoft systematically established a highly visible icon and active link on most desk- and laptops around the globe. Intel is rumored to have paid a staggering $5 per computer to secure what’s perhaps the most visible spot in our daily lives — a sticker placed beside the screen, on your monitor frame.

Currently, companies offer practically unused advertising tools. But they could be emerging as the next generation of brand-building equipment because they enable brands to secure daily visibility that lasts several hours and, most important, to create brand shortcuts between consumers and their favored brands.

So, what’s the value of this concept? We can’t surmise the value of this specific tool and its achievements yet, but we know that extended or permanent brand visibility creates brand loyalty. The mechanics are simple. People tend to trust things that they see often, that they’re familiar with, more than things they see rarely. Of course, this assumption depends on the visibility being positive.

Visibility is probably the most expensive asset you can buy when you’re building your brand. It’s no coincidence that, having invested millions in the exercise, Intel and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have become what they are today. You should take note of this type of alternative thinking every time you’re constructing a truly creative marketing plan.

 

Information on How to Buy a Franchise

Tips on Finding the Right Franchise Business Opportunity

There can be a large variety of rules and regulations when buying a franchise business. Discover some of the types of franchise opportunities and associated costs.

When buying a business franchise, there are usually fees involved. Depending on the type of business, the method of calculating associated costs or fees can vary. Franchise fees can be a major expense and should be carefully considered to the expected return on investment. This article looks at some of the different types of popular business franchises and the method of calculating fees.

What is a Business Franchise?

A franchise is like a license to use the trademark name to sell specific products or services. Most franchises start out as an independent business. Once they become successful, they may try to expand by offering their business model to other potential business owners. Once a potential business owner agrees to the terms of the business model, a franchise agreement is written with certain stipulations that must be adhered to by the new franchise owner.

Types of Business Franchise Opportunities

There is a multitude of different business franchise opportunities. The following are some of the more popular category types of business franchises.

  • Food
  • Automotive
  • Home Based Business
  • Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Retail
  • Business Services
  • Mobile Business

Business Franchise Costs and Fees

Franchise cost and fees can vary widely depending on the type of business. Name recognition can also have a major impact on costs. For example, the fees for buying a McDonald’s franchise would be considerably more expensive than buying a fast food business that is not widely recognized. Some of the following are costs and fees that can be part of the agreement.

  • Startup Fee
  • Percentage of gross sales
  • Percentage of gross profit
  • Advertising fees
  • Administration fees
  • Legal fees
  • Research Fees
  • Training Fees

Besides some of these fees, there can also be minimum inventory requirements. Specialized equipment may also have to be purchased as a requirement of the agreement. Product uniformity can also be a part of the agreement where certain products must be purchased from the franchiser.

Advantages of a Business Franchise

Purchasing a franchise can be quite an expense, but there are also some advantages to owning a franchise. The following are some of the advantages of a business franchise compared with an independently owned business.

  • National advertising
  • Nationwide warranty and service
  • Name recognition
  • Specialized training
  • Product liability
  • Standard computer systems

When considering purchasing a business franchise, some research can help to make a sound financial decision. Weight the costs involved against the benefits. Create a business plan to help ensure a decent return on investment. Talk with other business owners that operate the same franchise that’s under consideration. Visit their business to get an idea of what’s involved in daily operations.

Hiring a Trademark Lawyer

Find a Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases and Registration

Although a trademark lawyer is not always necessary, in many instances one may have to find a lawyer for trademark infringement cases and trademark registration.

Either as a preventative measure or after the fact, there are many instances where it may be necessary to find a lawyer for trademark law. Although attorney services can potentially cost thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the case, and the hourly rate of the individual, the expense may be well worth it in cases of trademark infringement or complicated trademark registration. To have the most effective and efficient experience with a trademark lawyer, it is important to have a basic understanding of trademark law, and a clear expectation of the attorney legal services offered.

How to Find a Lawyer for Trademark Law

Hiring a trademark lawyer can lead to a loss of thousands of dollars or a savings of thousands of dollars, depending on how qualified and necessary the attorney is for a specific need. To find a trademark lawyer, it is important to spend the time to research potential candidates, instead of simply answering an advertisement or picking a random intellectual property lawyer from an attorney legal services listing. It is also important to have a basic knowledge of the work involved and time that will be spent in filing a trademark registration or trademark litigation, to be able to predict approximately how much a service may end up costing.

As intellectual property law covers a broad range of issues, from copyright registration to entertainment law services, an intellectual property law firm is not enough. Look for either a trademark law firm, or a specific trademark lawyer — an intellectual property lawyer who has experience with preparing trademark registrations, or defending trademark infringement cases. Find out what law school they attended and if it has an extensive intellectual property law program or not. Ask for referrals, and back check them. Also, inquire as to who will be doing the work, the trademark law, or paralegals.

Using a Trademark Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases

Trademark infringement involves a business or entity using the same or a similar mark as another entity that already owns rights to the mark through registration or established use. A lawsuit revolves around confusion for the consumer; trademark infringement occurs when it is unclear where a source of goods comes from because there are conflicting trademarks being used to identify a product.

For trademark infringement cases, it is important to find a lawyer who has both experiences with trademark law and as a trial lawyer. They need to be able to answer a complaint, file, and answer motions, and represent either a defendant or a plaintiff in court. Hiring a trademark lawyer for trademark litigation is almost essential as there are a number of conditions that a court will look at, which only someone well-versed in trademark law can easily decipher and make proper assessments on. To save expenses, and the trademark lawyer’s time, have all pertinent information ready, such as instances of third party use of the trademark, possible effects of the trademark infringement on business, or lack thereof.

What Attorney Legal Services to Expect for Trademark Registration

To find a lawyer for trademark registration, again, look for an attorney with specific experience in preparing federal trademark registration applications. Trademark registration can be done without legal help, however, a trademark lawyer can add insurance through their experience and knowledge of the subject. They can prevent a bad mark from being denied, and look out for potential problems with trademark infringement.

A trademark lawyer will help decide if the desired mark is a wise choice, based on a thorough trademark search, usually through a professional trademark search firm. Once the appropriate materials and information are provided, they will fill out the application and correspond between the United States Patent and Trademark Office or examining attorney during the review process. If any problems do arise with the application, a trademark lawyer can be extremely useful in navigating around obstacles.

Take the time to find a lawyer who can provide the legal counsel and protection well-worth the money that will be spent.

Intellectual Property Law

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets

The law of intellectual property encompasses four basic property rights: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Intellectual property is a property that is the result of one’s creative thought process, as distinguished from property that is tangible in nature such as real estate or personal property. The law of intellectual property consists of issues dealing with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. This article explains the four basic areas of intellectual property law.

Trademark Protection to Identify and Distinguish Goods

The law of trademark covers both trademarks and service marks. According to 15 U.S.C. §1127, the term trademark is any word, name, symbol or device used by a person to distinguish his or her goods or products from those manufactured or sold by others. Similarly, a service mark is used to identify and distinguish a person’s services from those offered by others.

According to Deborah E. Bouchoux, author of Business Organizations for Paralegals, trademarks may consist of slogans, designs, sounds, colors, and even fragrances. Marks that merely describe a product, such as “fluffy” or “zesty,” will not be accepted for registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). An exception exists for descriptive marks that have achieved a secondary meaning such that the mark is readily associated with the source of the goods.

One need not register a mark with the PTO in order to acquire trademark rights. Nevertheless, as Bouchoux explains, “registration with the PTO does afford a number of advantages to an owner, including the right to bring an action for infringement in federal court.” Trademark protection, unlike protection given to copyrights and patents, does not necessarily expire.

Copyright Protection for the Original Work of Authors, Artists, and Musicians

Copyright protection arises from the Patent and Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Copyright protects the works of authors, artists and musicians to ensure that they have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display and perform their works. The law of copyright has evolved with technology to encompass such works as software programs.

Copyright protects original works that are fixed in a tangible form of expression which can be “perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated.” Books, musical compositions, software programs, and sculptures can be copyrighted, for example, but ideas, processes or systems cannot. Generally speaking, the copyright term for works created after 1977 by individuals is the life of the author plus 70 years. The term for corporate copyright owners is 95 years from publication or 120 years from the creation of the work.

Patents Prevent Others from Making, Selling or Using One’s Invention

According to Bouchoux, a patent is a grant by the federal government to exclude others from making, using, or selling one’s invention. In order to obtain a patent, one’s invention must be novel, useful and non-obvious. There are three types of patents granted by the PTO:

  • Utility patents are granted for machines, processes, manufacturing methods, chemical compositions, biotechnology and the like. Utility patents are the most common patents.
  • Design patents protect the creation of a new, original, ornamental appearance for a useful product. An example might be a new shape for a glass container.
  • Plant patents protect certain types of plants, such as flowers and fruits.

Utility patents and plant patents last for 20 years, while design patents have a term of 14 years.

 

Trade Secrets

A trade secret is any valuable and closely guarded information that gives its owner some type of competitive advantage. A trade secret may be just about anything, including recipes, customer lists or marketing plans. The owner of the information must take reasonable steps to protect the information in order to claim the protection. No federal registration is afforded for trade secrets, but if they are properly protected, trade secrets may be kept indefinitely.