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Working for free is bad for business

You have to give to get. This is a great principle to follow when preparing a proposal for a client or negotiating a deal. But there should be limits on how much is given free-of-charge. The interesting point is how and why this is so.

Service providers such as IT developers and consultants are selling intangible services. Often they have to give quite a lot free-of-charge before being paid back or winning a legally binding contract.

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Training courseware intellectual property protection

To earn and secure revenues from intellectual property licensing, providers of training or training courseware are well advised to apply available legal solutions with rigour.

This is easily done, it is neither expensive nor complex. However, implementation of the solutions requires specialist knowledge that is not commonplace.

Because of that reality it is commonplace for training organisations to poorly protect their intellectual property.

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Murdoch on internet advertising, pay walls and competition

Mr Rupert Murdoch was interviewed over 37 minutes this week by David Spears of SkyNews on his views on a broad range of subjects. We'll focus here on his perception of the challenge from Google and other search engines for the traditional core of News Corp's power, its newspapers and their advertising-supported business model.

You can watch the video here, and go on to read our take on it.

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What blocks financial planners marketing online?

There is a lack of social media media use by financial planners to share their knowledge.

Des Walsh, a social media coach and pioneer in the field of blogging in Australia, has the reasons below as to why that is so.

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Entertainment law contract cancer

Just as concrete cancer plays havoc with structures, so does what I'll call "contract cancer".

In the early hours of last night I finalised email advice for an entertainment industry client. My advice was on a licence agreement for my client's sound recordings. The contract was prepared by a multinational company seeking to distribute my client's content.

The contract was littered with little signs of weaknesses. These were gaps or errors in - grammar, clause numbering,  and the choice of words. Two clauses were repeated, each time with different wording.

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Business law legal risk management framework

In the thick of contract negotiations the process required to get to end game can be messy, convoluted and frustrating.

The negotiation positions of managers and lawyers must be considered. Their required new clauses put in, old clauses taken out or changed. Track changes and comments in Word can help, sometimes.

It helps even more to have a big picture perspective of the process. This article sets out our business law framework for legal risk management.

The topic is not taught in law school. It's taught in very rare legal seminars. It's what you pay a lawyer to do, though it can be set out as we've done here.

On completing IT contract negotiations for a client this week, I was reminded of our framework of six approaches as set out below.

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Software patents and IP risk management

For software deverlopers, evidence arrived this week that the long term shift continues for more legal protection using patent law as well as copyright law.

World-wide, for software protection, there is more and more reliance on patent law. This Lightbulb blog has covered this trend in many articles (see the further reading list).

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Innovation reality in UK, US & Australia

UK SMEs are in a similar boat in many respects to those in Australia as regards difficulties with innovation. Think about unhelpful tax policies, misguided investment of public funds in research at universities, and the low levels of government attention to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

These are key messages I read into a recent press release by the SME Innovation Alliance ("SMEIA"), a new UK business organisation formed in September 2009.

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Even Google finds it hard to monetise content with AdSense advertising

In using AdSense to monetise content, how good are the financial margins for the The New York Times verses About.com?

The answer is provided by Martin Nisenholtz, Senior Vice President for Digital Operations at The New York Times Company. The Company owns both publications.

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Generate great trade marks to register

One key point is missing in the many thousands of articles written on brand development and trade mark registration.

The point is missing usually because those who write the articles do not provide a full or integrated brand development service.

Where that service is provided, the point is often still missing. In their articles authors on branding tend to focus on technical prowess in a niche area for brand development, eg design, marketing or law.

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From Goldfinger to Green Thumb - The James Bond Story

The intellectual property story behind the James Bond films provides practical guidance on how nurturing assets makes them grow, bear fruit and become a money magnet.

Bond is the second highest grossing series ever - over US$5 billion. The figure reaches nearly US$11 billion when adjusted for inflation.

Danjaq LLC is the holding company for the copyright and trade marks in the James Bond series. EON Productions is the film production company for the series. There have been 22 films, the most recent Quantum of Solace.

It has been noted that the value today of the James Bond series of films is about equal to the value 20 years ago of the entire MGM library of films created in the 20th century. The Bond series has long been a jewel in the MGM crown.

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10 steps for innovation management

Intellectual property law can be glued onto a creation or invention to give it legal and hopefully market and financial strength. Intellectual property lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, and marketing consultants all have relevant expertise.

If all you do with them is apply their IP glue to what you already have, then you'll get what you ask for, a quick fix.

If you avoid the rush and seek more, consider this.

The intelligent design of your creations and inventions involves integrating legal, management, technical and creative know-how from a range of advisers and consultants. Before turning to a quick stick bandaid solution for your baby project, consider the bigger picture for the work of the experts.

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Three legal data visualisations

Three examples of visualisation of legal information crossed my screen this month. Each is worth noting for deeper examination. Data visualisation is a regular topic for Lightbulb, see the further reading list below.

During contract drafting workshops I've run for lawyers I've mentioning the many benefits of visualisation of contractual business processes.

I've  also called for more legislation featuring graphics. This usually prompts a blank stare, puzzlement or ridicule along the lines of "it'll never happen" or "it's not practical".

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Management and change management distinguished

We live and work at a time of frenetic change. People are called on to keep it together and keep up. Inevitably that's an expression of hope that they will succeed. Usually I find people do, we are very adaptable creatures.

Organisations are the same only if their DNA evolves. Wealth creation is increasingly a function of keeping up and adapting. Call it innovation if you like.

At times it seems that everything is all about change. Certainly that is too often the case with the bogus use of the word "reform" appearing after any reference to a new law.

Change is fashionable. Fashion is change. People are thrilled by the "new new" thing. It may be mere confection, but it's new!

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Smartphone statistics and links

The bank, Credit Suisse, projects global smartphone sales in calendar 2009 at 176 million units and 223 million in 2010. Where are we heading?

As more smartphones are sold two things are evolving and exploiting the functionality of smartphones more fully. On the supplier side there is smartphone software and apps. On the user side, changing user habits.

Running with them will be new applications. They will serve health, emergency services, defence, education, banking, retailing, and other sectors benefiting from information services. These applications will be commercialised if smartphones meet user needs.

Those user needs may be because the information sent, or the information received in response, is time critical, location aware, personalised or authenticated.

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