Semiconductor Companies Get “Bonuses” Through IP

Protecting a semiconductor company’s most valuable asset; the legal department as a profit center

If it seems as though semiconductor companies are spending more and more time in court arguing about patents and their infringement, it’s because they are.

More patent infringement cases are being filed each year. Steve Barnes, associate editor of a trade magazine in the field of intellectual property (IP), told us, “According to the numbers we have received through the first 11 months of this year, there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 16-hundred patent infringement lawsuits filed. I can’t give you exact numbers because even the patent office doesn’t have exact numbers.”

Actually, the solicitor’s department of the Patent and Trademark Office tries to keep up with the number of patent infringement lawsuits, but federal district courts around the country often neglect to report such litigation in their own jurisdictions. Even so, the solicitor’s department reported 1,233 patent infringement lawsuits in fiscal year 1996 (the last year for which figures are now available). Of these, 83 found their way to the U. S. Court of Appeals.

There are many reasons for the growth in such litigation. First and probably foremost, among semiconductor and other types of electronic companies, intellectual property is without doubt the most important asset a corporation can have. According to Jack Brown, who has practiced IP law since 1968, “There are very important companies totally dependent sometimes on only a few patents or processes that are terribly important to the success of the company.”

You Can Do It! You Have the Power!

skintagreThanks to various aspects of the media; fashion magazines, celebrities, television and social media platforms human beings are on a constant quest to look good. We spend time and energy picking ourselves apart and putting ourselves back together in a combination that we enjoy. While there are a lot of reasons why people want to look good it’s hopeful that people want to look good for themselves and not so that someone else will like them more. When reviewing yourself and identifying areas to change sometimes it’s better to start small. Some people will reshape their eyebrows and some will go for a new haircut or a new colour. If you suffer from skin tags and you want them removed, that could be an area you start with yourself.

Skin tags are generally harmless pieces of skin that like to grow in the folds of arms, the neck, groin area and sometimes by the eyelids. They don’t usually grow to more than 3mm across and a person could have anywhere from one to one hundred skin tags on their body at any given time. While they aren’t a health concern they can definitely be an annoyance. If you’ve got one at the base of your neck you might rip it off on a regular basis brushing your hair or shaving your face. Or maybe you’re a bit embarrassed that you’ve got one on your neck or near your face.

Instead of worrying and stressing about it, take action! You can remove skin tags on your own and in the comfort of your own home. Each method will depend on your own personal comfort levels, your budget or what tools you have on hand.

Some of the more expensive options, and time consuming, are using a skin tag removal cream or a freezing product such as Compound W®. For both of these methods you will need to first buy the product and both can take over a week to show results. The freezing option is generally a single application and then the skin tag will fall off on its own over a week or two and the cream option usually requires application twice a day for approximately two weeks. Both work by attacking the cells from the inside and killing the skin tag from within.

Another option is threading. This can also take

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209’s Language Lives On

On Election Day, California voters approved Proposition 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, making unconstitutional government-sponsored race- and sex-based discrimination. Remarkably, one day later these same voters were told they had just engaged in an act of racial discrimination: Prop. 209, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court, violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case likely will rise through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court for decision probably no earlier than the summer of 1998. The ACLU and its allies want not only to frustrate the will of California voters but also slow what CCRI has set in motion: a grassroots movement against public-sector preferences in other states and a long-overdue search for new, non-preferential policies that will enhance opportunity for ever greater numbers of Americans.

The new world ushered in by CCRI was evident mere hours after the vote when Governor Pete Wilson, an outspoken advocate of the initiative, ordered new regulations to prohibit preferences where applicable in state employment, education, and contracting–the three areas targeted by Prop. 209. Wilson also moved to amend a lawsuit he initiated a year ago seeking to

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UK Not As Free?

Generations of British – no, more accurately, English – politicians have proudly reiterated Westminster’s claim to be the “Mother of Parliaments”, in the belief that England is the home of democracy. Mrs Thatcher most vividly illustrates this tendency – instructing our European partners in Bruges, for example, that “since Magna Carta in 1215, we have pioneered and developed representative institutions to stand as bastions of freedom”.

But do our institutions actually deliver the goods? How do they, and the power relationships between them, compare with those of similarly “advanced” democracies? Close examination suggests the United Kingdom is lagging behind.

The comforting doctrine of “parliamentary sovereignty” is deceptive. First, it means that we do not have “popular sovereignty” – the idea that the people of this country govern themselves. Second, it conceals the reality of executive supremacy in the UK – we are unique among western nations in giving a single party control of both government and the popular assembly based on a minority of the vote at general elections.

I recently compared the UK directly with three other European nations, Denmark, France and Germany, and two countries in the “Anglo-Saxon” tradition, Australia and the United States. The British executive’s freedom from constitutional constraint, or legal checks and balances, was exceptional across a wide range of institutional features. None of the other countries was perfect, but none of them performed as badly as the UK in every area I examined.

Britain does not make the executive subject to the rule of law, via supreme constitutional laws based on the principle of popular sovereignty. Instead, the executive, through its creature, Parliament, can change any law of the land by a simple majority of one vote. The rights, liberties and the institutions of British citizens are not protected by any special laws that government cannot easily change – unless you count the European Convention. We do not share political power between the centre, home countries, regions and local communities in the way most modern nations do. Local government in Britain has no constitutional defence at all against central power.

The House of Lords is the weakest and most unrepresentative second chamber of the countries I looked at. Our popular assembly, the House of Commons, is weaker than those of Denmark, Germany and the US, especially in its ability to scrutinise the executive and influence government policies. We do not promote open government through an enforceable “right to know”, but only through a voluntary code exercised by government itself. Our executive can begin wars or make treaties, and tell parliament afterwards.

James Madison, the great American democrat, said, as far back as 1788, that while elections represented the “primary control” on government, “experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions”. Historically, Britain has neglected both. A medieval voting system has been preserved and adapted to provide “strong government”. And instead of a system of formal checks and balances, the “gentlemanly capitalists” who saved democracy from the people in Victorian times ruled themselves by way of “constitutional conventions” while they ran Britain and its extensive empire. The tradition of voluntary restraint through such conventions has continued to govern political practice in the UK, while most mature democracies have adopted formal “auxiliary precautions”. The most recent examples are the shift to “right to know” laws and the strengthening of democratic regional structures.

Britain’s reliance on the conventions of an elite political culture – the ethic of the club – is now absolute. Politicians no longer play the game. This leaves the people, their rights and their institutions constitutionally defenceless against the partisan politics of single-party governments. In the 1970s, the British establishment feared the lash of unrestrained Labourism. In the 1980s, the public felt the lash of triumphant Thatcherism.

For any country, the bite of democracy lies ultimately in the prospect of losing office after an election. As Joyce Cary once observed, “The only good government is a bad government in a hell of a fright.” Britain’s electoral system is not designed to frighten the government party, or even the main opposition party. It protects both against third parties.

What can we learn from the five “peer” countries? The first need is to restore the bite of elections and to free Parliament from domination by a single-party executive. The most obvious way of accomplishing both these goals is to follow the examples of Denmark and Germany.

The public in both countries vote for their MPs in elections based on proportional representation. The parties in both countries are therefore obliged not only to share power with other parties, but to maintain their position in the popular house. This means that the lower houses in both countries have more power to scrutinise government and to influence its policies.

In Germany, the regions are represented in the upper house and their representatives have real, and justifiable power, over government proposals. Denmark abolished its upper house and gave MPs in the lower house more powers to check the government.

The most interesting check on the executive in Denmark is that a third of MPs can force a national referendum on any legislation on which they have been outvoted – although for the bill to be finally defeated, the majority voting a against it in the referendum must be equal to at least 30 per cent of the electorate.

An alternative way to break the executive stranglehold on the popular house is to make the executive and legislature legally separate, as the makers of the 1688 Glorious Revolution in England intended to do, and the makers of the US constitution did. Both the Senate and House of Representatives in the US have considerable powers over the executive, which run even to the power to share equally in the budget-making process.

The second major change would be to follow all other modern democracies and codify the rules of the game. This would mean that we would have to rid our politics of the two great lies that obscure executive dominance in Britain – of rule in the name either of the Crown or Parliament – and embracing the principle of rule in the name of the people. A written constitution would at last bring the executive under the rule of law in a meaningful way, since it would set out what government may lawfully do and what it may not do, and it would set constitutional rules of behaviour that Parliament could not alter by a simple partisan majority.

Real benefits would follow. Britain would for the first time give positive rights to its citizens that government could not override at will. Second, the position of local – and hopefully – regional, Scottish and Welsh government in Great Britain would be constitutionally defined. This kind of pluralist power-sharing between the centre, regions and localities is common throughout the western world. With it go various ways of deepening democracy – like town meetings, citizens’ initiatives (which allow local people to put forward their own proposals) and local referendums. In Denmark, local people and users often elect bodies that provide services like schools and old people’s homes. In some German towns, representative groups of people are brought together to make local planning decisions.

The end of the cold war has not only liberated most of the former Soviet bloc, it has liberated the west too. For good and ill, the west’s democratic regimes now have to justify themselves by their relevance to their people’s aspirations, and not just by comparison with the iniquities of the Soviet alternative.

All western regimes need to improve their democratic practice. In doing so, my bet is that they will become better equipped to deal with their current economic and social problems. Sober analysis of Britain’s progress since 1215 suggests that we have further to travel than most contemporary democracies.

Knowledge Officers Change Intellectual Property Forever

These new executive positions – some reporting to the vice president of human resources, but often directly to the CEO – are highly coveted. According to Diane Gayeski, professor of corporate communications at Ithaca College in New York and a partner in the Ithaca-based Omnicom Associates consulting firm, compensation packages for CKOs and CLOs frequently are in the $200,000 range.

While there’s no concrete count on how many companies actually employ these critters, one estimate holds that about 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a CKO or CLO. Another suggests that there may be 250 to 300 of them in the United States. Many more organizations reportedly are trying to hire one, often with difficulty and mixed results.

“I’m constantly getting calls from clients and headhunters interested in finding a learning officer,” says Gayeski. “They generally need someone who knows the business, can see the big picture and trends, and then can crystallize and communicate a whole range of strategic messages in a form that employees can understand and use. The CEOs want a person who can look beyond training to performance, culture, collaboration, internal and external communication strategies, and more. That kind of person is hard to find.”

Experience as a CKO or CLO would also be helpful. But because the field is so new, seasoned candidates are few and far between. “There probably are no more than 20 highly qualified, proven performers in the field,” says Bowsher.

“There really are just a handful of top guns, like [Motorola‘s] Bill Wiggenhorn and [General Electric’s] Steve Kerr,” adds an executive at a

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Affordably Priced Hard Drive Recovery – Where To Get It

Basic fact in life: hard drives are bound to crash at some point in time. Since hard drives are very mechanical (and touchy), they will definitely show wear and tear over the course of time. Therefore, at some point, yours might have to be replaced or repaired. People are usually scared about getting hard drives repaired because of the huge cost involved and because the service lacks a guarantee of success. This means that some people try to repair their hard drives by themselves using rudimentary tools. But it is always safer to give broken hard drives to a professional to repair them. Nowadays, there are many services providers who will offer these specific hardware repairs at a very low cost. So you should never be afraid of putting your failed hard disk in the hands of a professional.

Some of the more affordable data recovery professionals charge very competitive fees compared to what they would have charged 10 years ago. Most repairs can be completed for any kind of hardware damage. The prices for most of these services will vary between logical recovery and physical or invasive recovery. But still, costs are very low for the services considering the high possibility of successful repair.

Keeping Your Drive In Good Shape Is Key

Since a primary use for computers is the storage of data, it is important to see to it that your hard disks are functioning properly. Most hard drive problems can be detected by the variations in the noise that they produce when they are starting up. Sometimes hard drives crash and then begin emitting clicking sounds. There are also instances where the hard drives do not make any sound at all and go into ‘silent death’ mode. In any of these instances there is a great chance that all the data that has been stored on the drive’s platters might be lost. But there are a lot of data recovery professionals that can help out in such situations to repair the hard drives and recover that seemingly lost data. Though just a few years ago such services were far too costly – making people immediately not bother with the idea of getting their data back – there are very some very cheap data recovery services available today.

Inexpensive data recovery services have made it possible for many people to get back their lost data that previously would have been lost forever. Some of these companies even offer a flat rate pricing schedule. But for the more professional level shops, the rates vary according to the seriousness of the problem.

Damaged hard disk drives can be a constant cause of worry for people who use computers regularly and have a lot of data stored in them. If they fail to have proper back ups for their data, even a small problem with the hard drives can mean big trouble. Some people try to repair their hard drives and retrieve the lost data, but this can cause even more damage to the hard drives. So if you do not know the ins and outs of the process of data recovery, it is better to call somebody that knows exactly what they are doing. The costs are often minimal for the repair and you can be assured that you will get back your lost data. These companies can even help with more critical stuff like RAID recovery with their proven track record and expertise in the field.

Though the rates for each type of disk damage may vary, you can be guaranteed that the costs will not be too rough on your wallet if you opt for the smaller hard disk repair services. Since there are many players in the field, there is a lot of room for you to compare the prices between different service centers. However, the differences in pricing can frequently be not as different as you might have expected.

How Sure Can You Be Of Your Problem?

Finding a cheap but effective data recovery company is not that difficult if you have the patience to be diligent about it. But before you decide to contact a certain company, you should be sure that your problem requires outside help, and can’t simply be fixed by using a data recovery software. To assess your situation, first check for file that has been erased or lost from your recycle bin (if you have a Windows computer, naturally). If you cannot find it, use the file search function to search for the file in case it might be in another location. If you still cannot find it, you may be able to use economical file recovery software. However, using a utility like this must be coupled with caution on your part. These products can actually do more harm than good in situations of physical drive breakdown.

Data recovery utilities cannot be helpful if all of your data on your computer is inaccessible. Inaccessible data caused by physical damage to your drive can never be accessed via software. This is the point when you need to be getting on the phone with a couple of hard drive recovery service providers in order to get that data back. Time shouldn’t be wasted in this case.

Getting The Right Services

One of the biggest crises that you can ever encounter is when you lose data on your computer or laptop hard drive. For people who have not backed up information to another resource, this occurrence can spell doom for you.

There are people who specialize in the data recovery sector who can be of assistance as long as you inform them as soon as possible. These people deal with various hard drive problems related to lost data from various storage options. There are some people also who specialize in databases, emails and other virtual storage options. Meanwhile, there are those others who have a bias to specific computer hardware like laptop hard drives. There are those that also specialize in recovering flash USB drives and RAID servers. Simply put, any type of lost data can be recovered. There really are no limits on the amount of data high quality certified recovery shops can retrieve nowadays. A good example of one of these, of course, is Hard Drive Recovery Group (www.harddriverecovery.org)

But unfortunately for many, affordable data recovery seems to be out of reach for the ordinary person. This does not always hold true. Data recovery is often cheap at mid-level vendors like Hard Drive Recovery Group, whereas at high end data recovery companies like Ontrack (www.krollontrack.com) it is usually extremely expensive. But, since there are many players in the market these days, you don’t have to pay Ontrack’s high prices, and most people do not. Keep in mind there are also software packages that you can buy for minor lost data issues like broken flash drives or even corrupted memory cards.

Essentially, affordable data recovery

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International Worker’s Rights Remain A Strong Issue

(In light of Apple’s recent issues with Foxconn, I thought I’d post this gem from the past.)

Levi Strauss & Co. and Reebok Corp. are among the first three companies signing on to a new campaign created by the International Labor Rights Fund and other groups to promote workers’ rights in Chinese factories.

The companies agreed to implement 10 business practices regarding labor in these factories. Toymaker Mattel has also agreed to participate.

Workers rights are a huge issue for China's relationship with the world.

Workers rights are a huge issue for China’s relationship with the world.

“Workers producing goods in China are being exploited. They face hazardous working conditions and are forced to work excessive overtime,” said Bama Athreya, director of the China and Southeast Asia

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