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Given their obvious lack of intimate knowledge of and hands-on experience with the actual patenting process, the FTC is in no way qualified to be making recommendations concerning patents ("Patent Pending," October). Fact is, qualification standards are already plenty tough (as anyone who's gone through the process--including me--knows only too well). Competitors being able to challenge patents post-issuance already works great. Competitors can readily review most patent applications at www.uspto.gov.
In fact, [the FTC's] dangerous proposal to limit willful infringement damage awards, a proposal big companies are kicking and screaming for, would only hurt "the little guy"--those creative--thinking individuals normally without the substantial monetary resources necessary to take on big-company infringers. The threat of treble damages is often the only leverage we've got to stop "the big boys" from stealing our ideas.
Thousand Oaks, California
Rules to Live By
I have to object to the recent article by Crystal Detamore-Rodman about bankruptcy ("Severed Ties," October). She seemed to be saying that reckless business building should be backed by unlimited bankruptcy provisions. I'm a CPA and have been working with small-business owners for almost 40 years. I can say that following the simple rules of writing a business plan, using the plan, doing research, and not overdoing it with debt will bring success. Unbridled optimism combined with easy debt has led many business beginners to debtors prison. It wasn't thoughtful entrepreneurial activity; it was spending foolishly. If people have to take on debt, they should do it through a legal entity by forming a corporation or an LLC and not by signing unlimited personal guarantees. The rules for business success are simple. They are just not as much fun as going berserk with other peoples' money.
Where do we draw the line between the separation of church and state when the federal government is looking at mandating that corporations accommodate religious needs ("Prayer Meeting," August)? If someone has special religious needs, they should request time off to either go to their place of worship or find a private place.
Truly, companies are getting the shaft when it comes to this constant barrage of employee requirements, with the fear of lawsuits if they raise any concerns regarding anything personal. Bottom line is the government should butt out and let companies provide corporate benefits as they desire to their employees. If employees cannot find the time or place to accommodate their personal needs where they work, then maybe they should find a new job.
Follow the Leader
I just read the August issue, and the feature on stellar selling ("Behind the Magic") caught my eye, especially "How to follow up with a prospect." Many times, people are scared of seeming overzealous in the eyes of their prospects and end up losing touch with them. However, in a recent research report my company published, we found that 60 percent of buyers of professional services said they would be "much more likely" to consider purchasing a seller's services if [the seller was] more enthusiastic about winning their business. On the reverse, only 33 percent said they would be "much more likely" to consider purchasing a seller's services if [he or she was] less enthusiastic. It's clear-prospects want sellers to follow up.
Marketing and Sales Manager