Patents Go International
International patent filings under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) grew by 2.4% in 2008, to nearly 164,000 1 applications. While the rate of growth was modest, as compared to an average 9.3% rate of growth in the previous three years, the total number of applications for 2008 represents the highest number of applications received under the PCT in a single year. Continued use of the PCT, a cornerstone of the international patent system, indicates that companies recognize the importance of sustained investment in research, development and innovation to remain competitive even within challenging economic conditions.
Lawyers Get Right-Sized
Since last October, the legal community has seen a steady down-sizing of sizeable law firms across the country. According to an International Herald Tribune report, a number prominent national law firms have either laid-off employees or closed entirely. Since then, a variety of firms have also laid off hundreds of employees, according to an article in The Legal Intelligencer. The American Lawyer and its sibling publications are providing ongoing coverage of law firm layoffs and related news at The Layoff List. Will we now see more work sent to the (more affordable) Midwest?
Patent CLE Group Offers Loyalty Program
At a time when law firms and in-house legal departments are tightening their belts, Patent Resources Group (PRG) has introduced a new Loyalty Program to provide patent legal professionals the valuable Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit they need to continue practicing. The new program offers exclusive pricing on any 2009 Advanced Courses for attendees of any one of Patent Resource Group’s 2008 Advanced Courses, Workshops, Seminars or Patent Bar Review courses. Additionally, attendees of any 2009 course will receive Loyalty Program pricing for any subsequent Advanced Courses in 2009, as well as in 2010.
The Economic Strategy Institute (ESI) announces Smart Globalist, a new Web magazine providing daily coverage of news and analysis from around the world on globalization and related international affairs. In addition to syndicated content from newspapers, magazines, broadcast media, expert blogs, and academic journals, SmartGlobalist will also provide its own original articles and analysis. Readers will be able to cover the world of globalization from one easy to navigate page. In this first issue, the lead editorial focuses on the need for a U.S. stimulus package to be balanced by even bigger stimulus in countries like Germany and China that have large export surpluses.
Let’s Make a Deal
Corporate mergers fell on economic hard times. According to a survey by Thomson Reuters, the $2.9 trillion in worldwide announced mergers and acquisitions recorded during 2008 was down 29.6 percent from 2007. Fourth quarter totals were down 32.6 percent from the previous quarter and 37.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007. Have things changed? Thomson reported that 1,194 transactions had been canceled during 2008. On the other hand, we may start to see an increase in deals that are not optional, i.e., the sale of distressed assets and the acquisition of distressed companies. We could see an increase in foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies and assets. Will it include law firms? (via Law.com)
Will Lawyers Bike to Work?
You can now get a Bicycle Tax Credit (BTC) if you bike to work. Passed as part of that $700 billion bailout plan, the BTC allows employers to reimburse employees up to $20 per month for bicycle-commuting related expenses; the employer can then claim a tax deduction for the reimbursements. The law went into effect on January 1, 2009. The problem, of course, is not there there are not enough tax incentives but that there are too many barriers to bike commuting. Like lack of safe pathways. Only four tenths of 1 percent of Americans get to work on a bicycle. Seventy-seven percent drive — by themselves! The EPA blog asks why people are or aren’t biking to work, and safety concerns, distance, and smelliness(?) were the key barriers. Of course, you could always try creating your own bike lane. (via World of Work)