Thursday, February 17, 2005
New site captures US Patent Info.
We mentioned in a previous blog comment that fancy printed copies of patents were being sold on Ebay.
Now you can look them up online and get images of the patent drawings at Free Patents Online .
Some of the most interesting patents ever issued are listed in the section entitled Crazy Patents (look to the left hand column).
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
More Naming Problems for Google
I just ran across an item in "A Nasty Bit of Business" that relates to the name topic we have touched upon a few times here.
It appears Google has finally met its match in the French Courts. We struggled with this quite a bit last year as Google sold access to our name to our competitors. Delaware Intercorp is a trademark of Delaware Intercorp, Inc.
I guess we should consider it a compliment that our competitors want to buy access to our name. But we have worked hard to make the name mean something to our customers and we do not want them to be mislead to another site.
Name problems are in the news
I have been reading in the Wall Street Journal and on several blogs about the problems of companies that used the word Tsunami in thier names.
Denise O'Berry suggests on her blog, Just For Small Business that companies change a name if it becomes a problem, unless it means something very powerful to customers.
We have been discussing naming quite a bit here over the last few months. I did not see this issue coming any more than the victims of the tsunami did.
NAME ISSUES IN THIS BLOG:
Delaware Corporation Franchise Taxes due March 1, 2005
All corporation franchise tax returns went out in the mail by the end of the year and are due in the hands of the Division of Corporations before March 1st.
All corporations incorporated in the State of Delaware that have not filed a dissolution or merger with the State during calendar year 2004 are required to file the Annual Franchise Tax Report and pay the Franchise Tax. Failure to pay your franchise tax bill on time will result in up to a 167% penalty and interest charged at 1.5% per month.
The Division of Corporations assesses these charges. There is no need to panic if you do not receive your franchise tax report since the Division makes payment options available online. You may pay your Franchise Taxes in one of three ways.
1) You can pay the franchise fee and file the return directly with the Division of Corporations. Instructions for where to send the report and payment are included in the mailing. Make your check payable to "Secretary of State".
The payment address is:
State of Delaware, Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 74072
Baltimore, Md 21274-4072
For overnight deliveries, the address is:
State of Delaware, Division of Corporations
7833 Walker Drive
Greenbelt, Md 20770
2) You can pay the franchise fee and file electronically with the Division of coprporations.
For corporations, the web address is https://ecorp1.state.de.us/default.sph/ecorpWeb.class/secure/LoginFranchise.jsp
For limited liability companies, the web address is https://ecorp1.state.de.us/default.sph/ecorpWeb.class/secure/LoginLC.jsp
3) You can send us the funds via Credit Card at https://www.delawareintercorp.com/payment.htm, and we will handle payment of your franchise taxes for a fee of $50.00. Be sure to include both our fee, and the franchise tax fee by February 25th for timely processing.
If paying us using the secure online server you may send your completed Franchise Tax form – with signature - by fax to 302.279.8908.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Credit Scoring for Insurance Rates
I have been going back and forth with the local newspaper, the News Journal, about the merits of credit scoring as a method of predicting insurance claims.
More information is now available courtesy of the Texas Legislature. They mandated a study by the Texas Insurance Commissioner to look into this and they found that credit scores are highly predictive of likelihood to file a claim.
This says nothing about the size of the claim that might be filed. But it seems to legitimize the use of credit scores in setting rates.
California, Hawaii and Maryland ban the use of credit scores for at least some types of insurance. This also points out the importance of maintaining a good credit score and credit report. Checking your credit report is something we should all do at least once per year.
I just checked all three of mine at myfico.com and found that the mortgage on my last house is listed twice in one of the bureaus.
More FinCEN News
Director Fox, of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, made a speech in Miami recently in which he encapsulated the whole idea of the Bank Secrecy Act and the PATRIOT Act.
His summary, from the FinCEN website:
Not surprisingly, the USA PATRIOT Act is almost singularly focused on the flow of funds from abroad. The premise is simple: if a U.S. financial institution chooses to do business with a foreign entity, there is some modicum of risk and it is incumbent upon the institution to mitigate or manage that risk. This regime is sensible, fair and smart.
Indeed, as I have already said, few are better qualified to assess risk unique to their business, and to tailor programs of maximum effect at minimum cost. Similarly, foreign financial institutions seeking access to the U.S. market must be prepared to provide U.S. financial enterprises with information sufficient to make the judgment that no one is being misled by terrorists, criminals or kleptocrats. The willingness to share such crossborder information is now a license required to do business in America. The key “international” provisions of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act are known to most of you.
The Act –
- Prohibits transactions with shell banks,
- Requires off shore banks to nominate agents for service of process,
- Authorizes interbank accounts to be frozen to reach the assets of terrorist suspects maintained abroad in correspondent banks,
- Requires enhanced due diligence for private banking accounts in excess of $1.0 million and when dealing with prominent political figures and their families,
- It further requires U.S. financial institutions to examine the quality of the regulatory regime abroad and publicly available information about institutions seeking to establish correspondent relationships and, finally,
- Empowers the U.S. Government to subpoena records held abroad by any correspondent bank.
I think that sums up the approach of the US Government. It is worth repeating here because many non-US businesses are encountering resistance from bankers they have worked with for years. This explains the extraordinary pressure bankers are under now.