What Are the Most Common Forms of Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to innovations of the mind, such as inventions, scholarly and creative works, patterns and marks, names and likenesses used in trade and business. All IP is protected by the various laws in existence locally, regionally nationally, and internationally. Laws exist for patents, trademarks, copyright, service marks, trade secrets and more.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an absolute right granted for an invention, which is a product or a method that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or proposes a new specialized solution to a problem. To obtain a patent, methodological information about the invention must be revealed to the public in a patent application. The process for obtaining a patent is complex. If you are interested in obtaining a patent, you should first visit this website: The US Patent and Trademark Office. Once you have begun to understand this process and the associated laws you can apply for a patent. However, keep in mind this is a complex process and using an attorney specializing in patents would be the best avenue to use.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal term used to illustrate the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Creations covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, films, computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, technical drawings, and more. Copyright is not a complex IP to apply for and most people can easily complete a form and submit their work. Be sure to visit the Copyright Office online to learn everything you need to apply for a copyright, including fees, what to submit, etc: US Copyright Office.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign which distinguishes between goods or services of one company from those of other companies. Trademarks are safeguarded by intellectual property rights. Trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by completing an application for registration via the trademark office and paying the required fees. The website is the same as for patents.

What is a Service Mark?

A service mark is a mark that distinguishes between services. Businesses use service marks to connect their services and differentiate them from other services in the same field. Service marks consist of letters, words, symbols, and other devices that help notify consumers about the origin or source of a particular service. Registration can be completed at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What is a Trade Secret?

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) classifies a trade secret as: information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that produces independent economic value. These secrets are either tangible or impending, and generally are not known or easily discovered by other persons who might receive monetary value from its revelation or use; and is the focus of efforts that are logical under the conditions to preserve its secrecy. There are two basic situations in which acquiring the use of a trade secret is illegal. If a trade secret is acquired through illegal means or if through a breach of confidence then there is a legal standing for suit. Trade secrets may be obtained by lawful means such as private discovery, reverse engineering, and unintentional disclosure. The trade secret holder’s failure to take reasonable protective measures can allow this to occur. The misappropriation of trade secrets is considered a form of unfair competition. Reverse engineering is oftentimes restricted as found in computer programs.

What is Industrial Design?

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that shields the visual design of objects that are not purely functional. An industrial design consists of the creation of a model, pattern or composition of a pattern or color, or permutation of a pattern and color in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional prototype used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft.

What is Trade Dress?

Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the illustration of a product or its packaging or the design of a building that signifies the origination of the product to consumers.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a partial and that changes the purpose, such as to comment upon, disparage, or lampoon a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.

Commentary and Criticism

If you are commenting upon or criticizing a copyrighted work a book review or any valid review, fair use principles allow you to replicate some of the work to accomplish your purposes.

These are the most common forms of intellectual property. If you decide that something you have created falls under one of the categories stated in this article, then you should look into registering the work or product. Be certain that what you are registering is not the same as what someone else has already registered.

Posted in |

The Alternative Investment Fund Regulations

What is an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF)

AIF is an Alternative Investment Fund Regulations privately pooled investment vehicle which collects funds from investors, whether Indian or foreign, for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors. AIF may be in the form of a trust or a company or a limited liability partnership or a body corporate.

Why AIF

AIF Regulations endeavor to extend the perimeter of regulation to unregulated funds with a view to ensuring systemic stability, increasing market efficiency, encouraging the formation of new capital and consumer protection.

Who are not covered

Currently, the AIF Regulations do not apply to mutual funds, collective investment schemes, family trusts, ESOP and other employee welfare trusts, holding companies, special purpose vehicles, funds managed by securitisation or reconstruction companies and any such pool of funds which is directly regulated by any other regulator in India.

Categories of AIFs

An AIF needs to seek registration broadly under one of the 3 categories –

Category I AIF: The following are covered under Category I

1. Funds investing in start-up or early stage ventures or social ventures or SMEs or infrastructure

2. Other sectors or areas which the government or regulators consider as socially or economically desirable including the Venture Capital Funds

3. AIFs with positive spillover effects on the economy, for which certain incentives or concessions might be considered by SEBI or Government of India or other regulators in India

Category II AIF: The following are covered under Category II

1. AIFs for which no specific incentives or concessions are given by the government or any other Regulator

2. Which shall not undertake leverage other than to meet day-to-day operational requirements as permitted in these Regulations

3. Which shall include Private Equity Funds, Debt Funds, Fund of Funds and such other funds that are not classified as category I or III

Category III AIF: The following get covered under Category III

1. The AIFs including hedge funds which trade with a view to making short term returns;

2. Which employ diverse or complex trading strategies

3. Which may employ leverage including through investment in listed or unlisted derivatives

Applicability of AIF Regulations to Real Estate Funds

After knowing what an AIF is and its broad categories, we analyse whether AIF Regulations are applicable to the Real Estate Funds

Firstly AIF has to seek registration under AIF Regulations under one of the three categories stated above. Therefore if a Fund does not fall under any of the three categories stated above, then it will not seek the registration with SEBI.

If we look at the Category 1, registration is required by funds which invest in start-up or early stage ventures or social ventures or SMEs or infrastructure

If we look at the definition of infrastructure, Explanation to Regulation 2 (m) states that Infrastructure shall be as defined by the Government of India from time to time.

And in the normal parlance, the term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, water supply, sewers, electrical grids,

telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as “the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions.

Therefore infrastructure does not include the real estate or construction activity since this activity deals in investing in land, developing the land by way of construction of flats, townships and other residential and commercial projects.

But if the real estate fund carries on certain projects for a social purpose like purchasing land for charity etc.; then the fund may be covered under social venture funds.

The clause further states that ‘or other sectors or areas which the government or regulators consider as socially or economically desirable and such other Alternative Investment Funds as may be specified;’

The AIF Regulations have been notified just a few days back and till date, no other AIF funds have been specified in the Category 1 by the Government. Further what the government or regulators consider as socially and economically viable is a very broad concept. However, till the Government specifically comes out with specific inclusions under Category 1; a Real Estate Fund will not be covered under Category 1 and therefore would not require Registration.

Further, the clause also states that – Alternative Investment Funds which are generally perceived to have positive spillover effects on economy and for which the Board or Government of India or other regulators in India might consider providing incentives or concessions will bee included

By adding these lines to the Category 1, SEBI has made the category 1 very vague and open to dispute and litigations since what SEBI intends with positive spillover effects on the economy is not defined or clarified. Different people or organizations may have a different opinion on this which would lead to unnecessary litigations and hardships to business owners. However, till any clarity comes on this, the business owners need to take a cautious approach to the decision of seeking Registration under AIF Regulations.

Category II AIF

Now we examine whether a Real Estate Fund falls under the Category II AIF

If we look at the funds covered by Category II above, they

1. Shall not fall in Category I and III

2. Shall not undertake leverage or borrowing other than to meet day-to- day operational requirements and as permitted by these regulations;

3. Shall be funded such as private equity funds or debt funds for which no specific incentives or concessions are given by the government or any other Regulator

For Real Estate Fund under Category I, we notice that at present it does not fall under Category I and it also does not fall under Category III since these are basically hedge funds. Further, no specific incentives or concessions are given by the Government to the Real Estate Sector. Therefore if we look at the applicability of Real Estate Fund under Category II, these funds may fall under the Category II AIFs if they do not take leverage or borrowing except for short-term requirements.

Impact of AIF on the Real Estate Funds

Under these Regulations, the minimum investment amount has to be Rs 1 crore from each investor. Therefore attracting the funds from the investors would become tough for the real estate funds, who used to raise amounts as less as INR 1 million from the investors. Now they would need to find high-value investors though this is not the only challenge that lies ahead for those raising domestic corpuses. They now also have to invest 2.5% of the corpus or Rs 5 crore, whichever is lower, to ensure that the managing company’s risk is aligned with that of the investor. Moreover, a single investment in a company or a project cannot exceed 25% of the entire corpus.

Further a Real Estate Fund registered in the form of an LLP also would be covered under the AIF Regulations. In an LLP Structure, since the investors are also partners, the risk to the rights of the investors being misused is very minimum. Therefore applying the AIF Regulations to the LLP Structure would reduce the flexibility available to such a Structure.

Conclusion

If we look at the AIF Regulations from a short term perspective, in light of the difficult fund raising environment today, the higher ticket size for investors could potentially throw up some challenges and could in a manner constrict the growth of the asset class, but clearly, in the long run, these regulations appear to have an element of maturity to play a pivotal role in the development and shaping up of the future of alternate asset class in India. It is also clear that alternative investments are more sophisticated and risky as compared to investments in equity and debt and till market matures it is advisable that only HNIs and well informed investors make an investment in this asset class and once the market matures it is made open to all. In the long run, we may see more investments in the Alternative asset class (in terms of quantum and maturity) due to the increased investor confidence in these funds.

All Important of Business Card

Graphic Design for Small Businesses and organizations isn’t only offering a product or service and having cash in on it. Once you start a small business, there are several features, which have to have a personal and professional focus. One of those is promoting your brand. There are a few things too, which form the foundation of promoting and one of those is the business card. The principle function of promoting is to attract the target market. When accomplished in the correct way, it can yield wonderful results. Marketing experts and graphic designers, who specialize in graphic design for small businesses, have the knowledge and experience to attract your specific client or buyer through distinct marketing and promotional tactics. A business card (or minute card) should have every piece of information essential for someone to interact and conduct business with your company or organization. There are many styles of cards, and in fact, it is necessary to decide on the appropriate style for your firm. This is why hiring a professional whom specializes in graphic design for small businesses is so important.

The product or service themselves won’t always draw in buyers or clients when shown to individuals in a prepared way. To get to the customers who will use, buy or interact with your company, one of several methods used in promoting is choosing the right business card. A card with the very best graphics, typography and layout that connect emotionally with your perspective client is the key. Every single color and color combination possesses its own meaning. There are many benefits and consequences to the use of color when contemplating the feelings and emotions of the people you’re trying to attract. Which means, a hues participation in the overall design is an essential part in selecting the most appropriate appearance of your business card. Imagine if the colors (or hues) used in your card were actually repelling your target audience you are trying to attract.

The visuals that happen to be loved by people of a distinct audience change by age and gender as well. An example is flowers; if your business makes products that are devoted to girls, then introducing flowers as visual elements (graphics) of your card will most likely attract more buyers. If though, your target is a more mature female audience, the use of flowers could be conceived as contrived and repulse your buyers. Selecting the most appropriate graphics for the business card is about the mindset of the buyer and not the business owner. Let me repeat that so you truly get it. The look, feel and emotions tied to your business card are about the buyer, not you, the business owner. If your buyer connects a personal emotion with the artwork, or possibly a design and style, employed in the card, then almost absolutely that buyer will choose the firm utilizing that artwork, design or style. For this reason alone, it is very important to work with a professional that knows and understands graphic design for small businesses.

Why have a business card in the hands of everyone that works for you? A nicely manufactured card affirms the level professionalism regarding the organization. You need a business card that is designed well with accessibility to information for your customers to make contact with you. It must be styled to create a personal connection with the buyer as well. Your reputation is riding on your business card. The primary function of your business card is to get clients to call you. Your logo should be prominent to let people know who you are the minute they see your card. After this, your business card should clearly provide methods for the client to contact you. This can be a website, a smart phone or email but it is highly recommended to have all three. A marketing expert or graphic designer whom specializes in graphic design for small businesses can help point you in the right direction for the content for your particular niche or market. Business cards with the proper visuals, content and style can help you do this. Are you ready to secure a professionally designed business card right now?

8 Tips to Consider Before You Buy Plantation Shutters

If you want to buy plantation shutters, you may want to consult an experienced professional. They will help you buy the best plantation shutters to help you meet your needs. However, if you are going to purchase plantation shutters for the first time, you may want to consider the following tips.

1. The type of wood

Since poplar wood is light, straight, and smooth, it’s a great choice for plantation shutters. The average height of a poplar tree is 160 feet and the trunk can be as much as 80 feet in diameter. So, it’s a good idea to opt for this type of wood.

2. Poly or Wood

Most of clients go for wood shutters because of their advantages over the artificial material known as poly.

As far as strength goes, wood is stronger and lighter. So, wooden shutters can be up to 37 inches in width. So, you won’t need more than a few panels for the window openings. Aside from this, wood gives you a lot of other benefits as well.

3. Louver Size

The size of most of shutters is 3.5 louvers. But there is a rise in demand for louvers that measure 4.5 louvers due to sliding glass doors and bigger windows. Actually, people want modern interior design as well as openness.

4. Midrail

If you don’t know, midrail is a horizontal plank. Over the midrail, the louvers open and close without relying on the louvers that are under the midrail. Many buyers like midrails since they leave the upper section open to let more light in and leave the lower section shut for privacy reasons. Moreover, a midrail is an ideal choice should you have metal casings.

5. Vertical Tilt Bar

You will find shutters that feature “hidden tilt”. In this type of shutters, the frontal wooden tilt bar is missing. In its place, you can see a metal tilt bar, which is almost invisible. So, you can have more visibility and open space.

6. Sliding Glass Doors

As far as sliding glass doors is concerned, plantation shutters are an ideal choice. For a consistent feel and look, your house should have shutters. Actually, plantation shutters are fixed on a track to let the panels open without any hindrance.

7. Cost Of The Shutters

Usually, plantation shutters are sold by the square foot. However, by paying a bit more, you can benefit from other options, such as hidden tilt, stain finishes, and specialty shapes. You should be ready to spend a good deal of money to get the required shutters.

8. Procedure

Plantation shutters are also made to order. First of all, the sales representative will visit your house to measure the doors and windows to give you a proposal. Then the installers will do a detailed measurement. Once the product is made, it is handed over to the finishing department. In this department, the product is sanded, primed and painted. Finally, they are installed.

If you are going to buy plantation shutters, consider the tips given above.

Better Sleep Means Knowing These Top 5 Things About Your Bed Sheets

Chances are we’ve all gone to bed, waking up either sweaty or miserable in the middle of the night. Most of us don’t realise that our bedding could be the culprit.

Reason why it is essential that you these 5 things in mind when purchasing your bed sheets to help you sleep better.

1. Natural, toxin-free materials:

Truth is your body breathes better with natural fibres. Be it organic cotton or hemp, there’s enough reason to buy a sheet set that does you good than any harm. Polyester and other materials not only make your body hot but are cloaked in a variety of chemicals that lead to acne, wheezing and a host of respiratory disorders including asthma among others. Volatile Organic Compounds found in petrochemical products have an adverse effect on your body.

To stay away from these, opt for GOTS certified organic cotton sheets which are well worth the small premium.

2. Colours:

If you get hot too much too often, chances are you’re sleeping on a multitude of dark colours. Opt for pastels or neutrals that leave your body calmer and your mind in peace before hitting the sack.

3. Weave:

Most people don’t understand that cotton itself is divided into a number of weaves. Weave refers to the way the threads are intertwined in crafting a sheet.

While Sateen has a luxurious feel and has a slight pearlescent sheen, percale is cool and crisp.

As a matter of fact sateen feels lovely in both warm and cold climates. However by culture, most in the western part of the world use Sateen more often than Percale while people in India by tradition use more percale.

4. Fiber properties and yarn

Did you know that sheets made of short, brittle fibers (read multi-ply sheets) feel coarse and brittle? The perfect analogy would be sandpaper. On the other hand, sheets with long-staple fibers in a single-ply yarn always, always feel heavenly because they’re smoother and longer. This also means that your sheets won’t pill unlike shorter fibres.

Do ask your retailer about whether your sheets are single-ply or multi-ply yarn.

5. Thread Count:

Don’t get fooled by this term for it most certainly means incorrect things to buyers. Thread Count is simply a measure of the number of threads weaved in a square inch and not the quality of the sheets. Most retailers inflate and put these out as 900 and 1200 TC which is nothing but a bluff.

A single-ply yarn sheet with 300 TC will feel much softer and lustrous than a fake 900 TC one.

Now that you have these handy questions to shoot to your salesperson, you’re bound to find the perfect bed.

The Ideal Cars for Transporting Many People

Do you ever find that you need to transport many people at a time but don’t have a big enough car to do it? Maybe it’s time for you to get a bigger car. Here are a 6 bigger cars to consider.

Ford Transit Connect LWB

This seven passenger car can fit two more people than the average car. The passengers also don’t feel as cramped as they would in a standard car. Not only does it have extra leg space but it also has head space for the taller people. The car also doesn’t use too much fuel considering its size and the amount of people it can carry.

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Although it is considered a status brand, this might be one of the cars that could fit many people. It’s bigger than many other SUVs and it also has an impressive engine. It is powerful and comes with the option of 4matic all-wheel drive.

Honda CRV

This is an SUV that has loads of space. It has more than enough space for large items of luggage and a decent amount of space for any of your passengers. It is also a modern and affordable car that can accommodate a number of passengers.

BMW X Series

Like the Mercedes, BMW is also on top of the status list because of how amazing the engineering is. The X series might be a five seater car but it has a large amount of space in the back. Packing luggage and briefcases won’t be a problem with this car.

Kia Soul

Perhaps one of the cheapest cars for a family, it still has the quality and space that you are looking for. The Kia Soul is nicely compacted for easy driving and parking. Plus the frame of the car is quite large so you will have extra space on the inside.

Toyota Fortuner

This off-road car is one of the older models that have always been a favorite for adventure enthusiasts. Going on a camping trip with friends has never been easier and as comfortable. Not only can you enjoy the space on the inside but you also won’t have to worry about damaging the suspension and the tyres because of the way it was built.

When traveling with many people you have to make sure that you are doing it legally. By law, you are not allowed to overload a car with more than the intended amount of people.

Will The End Of DACA Burst Our Academic Bubble?

Maybe it is okay that the academic bubble is about to burst. After all, our colleges and Universities seem to have lost their way, teaching gender studies, minority (majority) studies, leftist viewpoints and the never ending politically correct mission creep of sustainability, equality, and socialism. Is the removal of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in academia? It very well might be. Let’s talk.

There was an interesting piece on NPR worth listening to titled: “California State University Chancellor Raises Concerns About End Of DACA,” part of the ‘All Things Considered’ venue (4 minutes, 14 seconds long). The piece was on the air on September 6, 2017. During the interview the California State University system Chancellor Timothy White, he stated:

“Well, it would make it so several thousand of our students and several hundred of our employees would lose the status that DACA has provided. And for some, that would mean they would drop out of school out of fear. For others, it would mean that they would not be able to get a job or have the sort of ability to function in society once they earn their college degree. So we’re actually deeply disappointed in the president’s action and are working strongly with, now, our congressional members to create legislation to reverse this.”

Personally, I bet it is much higher than that, I bet it’s at least 5,000 students at 500 University employees. First, why is the University hiring Illegal Aliens ahead of US Citizens? Second, are these 5,000 students borrowing monies (student loans) for their over-priced tuition? You know, college is FREE in Mexico, but I guess if they don’t pay back the student loans its FREE here too, for them only as all the citizen college students can’t get out of their student loans ever, or those on Student VISAs have to pay in exorbitant college tuition fees in advance often 3-times the normal rates. Next is this issue with Cal Grant program – who do you think pays for that?

Meanwhile, most of the University professor pension funds around the country are in trouble (underfunded) and their pay keeps increasing, and the Universities continue to hire more administrators to their already bureaucratic and top-heavy brain-washing institutions.

Now you might ask, why on Earth does this author (me) care? Well, I am a taxpayer. And, I understand the issues of social safety nets, but our taxes are paid by US citizens for our benefits, not to redistribute to folks who are in our country illegally. Yes, I understand the debate; “it’s not their fault, their parents brought them here at a young age, and this is the only country they know.” Understood, but that is not my fault, nor should it be my problem just because I am a white male.

It seems now we are in a Catch-22. You see, if we send all the DACA students back, they will not pay their student loans, and will finish their education in Mexico, where it is free, which might be enough to trigger a bubble burst in the student loan market causing severely decreased enrollment as no one will be able to get a student loan in the future; citizen or not. Fewer students means tuition revenues will decrease, layoffs of staff and professors will cause poor education, larger classrooms, and bankruptcy to many University systems nationwide. And, mind you, the academic bubble will eventually burst as it is “unsustainable” anyway, but this may accelerate the time to drive off that cliff.

It’s too bad academia got hijacked by leftist political forces, now it’s time that the pendulum swings back to some sense of normalcy. Maybe it’s going to take a big hit to the system to force a little common sense back into the University system, maybe this DACA reversal might be that event that pivots to a more reality based place of higher learning?

Posted in |

Earlie Beach and The Golden Plover

Earlie Beach is a little town with about 1.300 people, in Queensland, Australia, along the Whitsunday Coast. It’s the gateway to the unparalleled Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s very popular with backpackers… and I was one of them! After arriving in the famous locality, I spent a couple of days relaxing and having a look around, trying to find out what could interest me in the area.

I simply loved the feeling of being careless free, fortunate to be in this superb part of the world.

One day, I do not remember if I was in a backpacker or in a pub, I saw an advertisement on the wall that unchained my imagination. The image of wonderful tall ship with all its sails unfurled appeared in front of me. A comment said that being on it would have been an adventure of a life time experience.

It was about a week cruise around the Whitsundays, a collection of 74 continental islands in the North-East Coast of Queensland.

I was hooked. I knew that I needed to go.

The ad also published: “Backpackers willing to help out with serving food and cleaning up will get a huge discount.” Without hesitation, I went to a travel agency and I bought a ticket immediately. I was very lucky; the ship was nearly booked out for the next weeks and they only had a few places left.

I was very excited about the trip and the ship as well. I started to gather information about my new mean of transport, which was a brigantine.

What is a brigantine? I am sorry about the technical wording but there is no other way to get around it…

It was, they do not exist anymore nowadays, a two-masted sailing vessel with an entirely square rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square top sail and a gaff sail mainsail (behind the mast). The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts.

The ship was built in 1910 by the Ports and the Harbours of Victoria, in Australia. At that time, she was called “Plover”.

For its construction, they used the best materials: the New Zealand Kauri, a gigantic native tree, and copper fastenings.

This astonishing 30-meter vessel was one of the last tall ship on planet earth.

It is hard to describe the feeling of being on it.

Its story is fascinating. It started as a steam powered ship in Melbourne and worked at diverse jobs as fishing ketch, ferry, scallop boat and finally as a striking cruise ship.

Unfortunately, in 1986 it caught fire. Luckily nobody died while the fire was raging but the deck was destroyed. Even its superstructure was completely wrecked. The ship then was abandoned in the mud for 2 years in the Marybyrnong River. A disaster!

Providentially 4 guys from Germany and a professional rigger of Geelong, called George Herbery, had the vision of seeing the huge potential of the discredited ship.

The brothers, called Helmut, Günther and Gert Jacoby and an engineer called Ed Roleff, were ship lovers. Within 4 years and 6 months they turned the derelict into a classy and elegant sailing vessel.

It was so picturesque, eye-catching and unique that it was regularly used in movies. One was the notorious softcore “The Blue Lagoon”…

Nevertheless, the day I was impatiently waiting for to start my new journey arrived…

The ship was blue with immaculate sails. What a wonderful sight when I saw it for the first time! What a feeling to embark on this masterwork!

My imagination ran wild… The Golden Plover reminded me of pirates, black and white flags with the skull, symbol of piracy par excellence… of deadly naval battles and hidden treasures…

Not only I was on a magnificent vessel… I was going to cruise along the legendary, stunning Whitsunday Islands.

Shiny white sand beaches and turquoise waters were waiting for me…

What’s next? Just follow me… And I will show you the world.

Three Ways to Increase Property Values

Real estate investors live and die by their ability to add value. With no added value, there are no profits. This is true with any business, but what makes real estate such a great business and a great investment, is the number of ways you can add value and cash in on big profits. Here are three ways you can add value to your properties.

Upgrades and Repairs: OK, this is the obvious one and is the reason fix and flippers can make money. Some repairs add a lot more value than it costs to do. The more creative you are with the improvements, the more value you can add. For example, I have a client that adds square footage to every house he buys. He really likes the inner city properties because they are the hardest to add square footage. You either need to finish an unfinished basement, or add a second story. There is not typically enough land on the lot to add an addition by increasing the foot print of the property. This client does a lot of basement finishes and “pop tops,” but where he has made the most money is the basement that is only 5 or 6 feet deep. He will go in and dig out the basement to a full 8 or 9 foot height and then finish it. Something most investors would not think of, so he is able to get the deal most other investors pass on. I have also seen some investors find houses that don’t really fit into a neighborhood and they make them fit. This could be limited bedrooms or bathrooms or funky floor plans. All of that can be changed. Obviously many cosmetic fixes like kitchens and bathrooms add a lot of value too. There is a lot more to it than this, but the idea is to buy a property at its true ‘as is’ value, (don’t over pay), and then add value with the repairs and upgrades.

Owner Finance: I love this one because it is so easy to add value with very little to no work. You will need to wait to cash in on your profits, but it is a way to increase a sell price significantly. You can also use this strategy to defer tax gains over a few years, instead of taking a big hit all in one year. When you have a property for sale there are a limited number of buyers for the house, although right now that pool of buyers seems pretty big. If you can increase the pool of buyers, the demand for that one house increases, which forces the price to go up. Someone that cannot qualify for an ordinary loan, limiting the supply of houses to choose from for that buyer, will likely buy your property. That also increases the price. You are adding value by giving them the chance to own a home that they normally would not be able to own. For this value, you should be compensated with a higher price and a decent interest rate on the profits, while you wait for the buyer to refinance and pay you off in full.

Shared Units: This is one area of real estate that I have not dabbled in, but it is extremely inviting. The idea here is to sell your property to multiple buyers. You are seeing this a lot in resort towns. It is always a vacation or second home. Have you ever been to a time share presentation? They are pretty enticing aren’t they? About 13 years ago my ex wife and I were in Florida and got sucked into a time share sales pitch. We decided to go because they offered us free tickets to Disney. We sat there for about an hour and a half and then the hard sale came. They were very good at selling the “idea” of the time share and had my ex wife sold. She asked me to move forward with the deal, but I could not bring myself to do it. I told her that I was not comfortable with an emotional purchase and that we needed time to think it through. “Can I please have our Disney tickets?” was my response. As we rode back to the hotel that afternoon, I started thinking about the math. Each unit can be sold to 52 different people because your purchase only gets you 1 week a year. Add that to the annual maintenance fees and the numbers are staggering. I know people who have flipped time shares successfully, because you can get them for free or near free on Craigslist, but it is not an investment I was interested in. With that said, I have considered doing a half or quarter share on a house in a ski town in Colorado. In this scenario, you are sharing a house with 1 to 3 other people so there is a ton more flexibility. You can use or rent out your weeks and you can be guaranteed valuable high demand weeks every year. It is a way to get a second home without the full expense. From the seller’s point of view, it is a way to get more for the house. ½ a share of a house is going to cost the buyer more than ½ of the fair market value. I have seen business plans from investors that would buy a house and quarter share it out. The idea was that after they improved the property and sold ¾ of the house to 3 different buyers, they would own the last ¼ free and clear. Obviously this strategy will work best in areas where people want second homes. The downside is if there are any improvements or major issues. I can see there being disagreements, so this is something you would want, as a buyer, to work out with all the other owners in writing before you buy.

How to Come Up With Your Best Legal Move for Copyright Cases

Whether you’re the alleged infringer or the copyright owner, calculating damages for a copyright infringement case is critical in determining your potential legal strategy. To analyse, the first thing to consider is if the pirated work has been registered with the copyright office. Registered works are afforded greater protection and these registration records can be found in a free online database. To access the copyright registration records, you need to go to the Copyright Office website.

Statutory and Actual Damages

Your best legal strategy is not only determined by the best copyright infringement software. Read on to know more about the types of calculated damages that could just help determine what works well for your case.

Statutory damages are often higher than actual damages and they are easier to calculate. So the majority of plaintiffs or content owners usually choose to pursue for statutory damages. For illegal filesharing cases for example, actual damages per pirated song may be around $1; however, statutory damages could go up to $20,000 or more.

Regardless of the actual damages suffered by the content owner, the amount of statutory damages is set by law. Each infringement usually range from $750 to $30,000, but damages for “innocent infringers” can go as low as $200 and up to $150,000 if the court determines that the defendant acted “wilfully”. The courts do not award damages outside this range and they consider the purpose of the infringing use, the value of the infringed work, and the infringer’s intent or state.

Aside from statutory damages, plaintiffs can also ask for attorney’s fees and if awarded, the infringer will owe them the total sum or part of the legal fees plus the fees of their own lawyer. Although attorney’s fees are awarded through the discretion of the court, unregistered copyright is never allowed to ask for attorney’s fees.

Plaintiffs pursue actual damages when their infringed work was not registered prior to the infringement. This type of damage is the calculable profit the infringer has gained from infringing the copyrights or monetary loss that the content owner has suffered.

Proper Analysis

Aside from getting a better understanding of the strength of your copyright infringement case, proper analysis of the potential damages plays an important role in determining a legal strategy. Calculating damages for copyright infringement is just one of the things involved in determining a person’s rights under the copyright law.

Most copyright cases do not go to trial and some defendants even choose to settle as the cost of a court case is already high, and added legal fees could possibly grow larger too. So, if you feel like your work has been infringed, talk to a copyright entity. They can help you identify the individual specifics that you will need to determine to come up with the best legal actions. Also, they use high-quality copyright infringement software to track pirates.

Posted in |