Intellectual Property: Tips on How to Protect Your Business Online

Intellectual property is anything that you or your business creates that is the property of your business. Each of the super heroes in the smash hit movie, Avengers, are the intellectual property of Marvel Comics. This means you can’t use The Hulk to advertise your spring sale. When you or your company creates a piece of intellectual property whether it’s a slogan, a character, a recipe or logo you are well within your rights to make sure that property is protected. In this age of social media networking, keeping up with that protection can become a challenging and full-time job. The following are some insightful tips on how you can protect your intellectual property and what to do when someone steals it.

Patent, Trademark, and/or Copyright First

You really can’t make a claim against someone who is using your intellectual property unless you first register that property. This will require filing an official trademark or copyright application for your property. A trademark protects your company information from being used by another company. Going back to the Avengers example, the next Batman movie can’t have Spiderman in it because those are two separately trademarked characters and can only be used with permission from the trademark owner. Copyrighting typically applies to a work that you intend to publish like a story, article or photo. These can also be created by your business as a way of promotion but can’t be used by other companies unless you give them permission. A lawyer who is familiar with these types of laws can advise you as to which is the best application to file for protection.

IP Monitoring

If you are serious about protecting your intellectual property then you’re going to have to invest into some time into monitoring your brand to see if your property is being inappropriately used. This isn’t just about checking into Facebook once a day, but instead dedicating time to conduct comprehensive searches across all kinds of social networking sites and other web portals.

Decide If Your Have Been Infringed Upon

Suppose your company creates a brand icon like the Pillsbury Doughboy. After trademarking this icon, it becomes very popular and begins popping up as people’s profile picture or on their blogs. Is that real infringement? Is your business being damaged? Your reputation being tarnished? Only you can make that call but just because someone might be using your icon or other intellectual property in the vast outreaches of cyberspace doesn’t mean your business will suffer. On some level, you can’t realistically chase down every infringement. You have to pick your battles wisely.

Taking Action

When it has been determined that your intellectual property is indeed being misused then you can take appropriate legal action. The first would be a cease and desist order. This would be a legal letter sent from your company’s attorney informing the user that they need to stop using your intellectual property immediately. Once you’ve put them on notice and they still keep using the property, you can sue them for trademark or copyright infringement. Proving damages in court can be tricky and costly for you. Often, the cease and desist order will do the trick.

CorporationCentre.ca is Canada’s internet leader in providing small business owners with a full range of affordable, timely and convenient document filing services, enabling users to complete incorporations, DBA registrations, corporate maintenance and governance updates, corporate name searches and reports, trademark services and more.

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Energy Efficiency – Easy Ways To Reduce Your Air Conditioning Use And Save Money

Did you know that 14% of the energy produced in the United States is used to air condition buildings and 10% of the energy produced is used to air condition homes? What is the total cost to consumers? Over 15 billion dollars a year. To put that into perspective the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) equates that to an astounding 140 million tons of CO2.

Energy efficiency refers to the reduction of energy used by specific end-use devices and systems, such as air conditioners, typically without affecting the quality of the services provided. Energy efficiency can be achieved many ways. In the case of your air conditioning one simple way to achieve this efficiency is by reducing your air conditioning needs.

Reducing Your Air Conditioning Needs

Depending upon where you live you may feel very dependent on your air conditioner. You may even be thinking about upgrading to a newer air conditioner with higher improved SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) but before you do consider the following – the easiest way to save money and energy on cooling is to reduce your air conditioning needs in the first place.

While some of my solutions may seem initially costly – in the long run you will enjoy a monthly energy savings, in some cases you may appreciate the value of your home, and you will always feel good knowing that you are doing your part to fight global warming.

Strategies for Reducing Your Air Conditioning Needs

Invest in alternate forms of in-house cooling such as ceiling fans or house fans. Unless you live in a very humid climate than ceiling fans, which can provide cooling by creating a low- level “wind chill” effect, are a good and relatively inexpensive choice. Ceiling fans are also rated by Energy Star so it’s easy to find energy efficient models. House fans are usually large fans in your top-floor ceiling. They cool by expelling hot air out and in-turn creating a vacuum that sucks cooler air in. Unfortunately house fans are not covered by Energy Star. In either case fan use substantially less energy then air conditioning systems and can go a long way in reducing your dependence on your air conditioner.
Replace older single pane windows with newer more energy efficient double pane or even triple pane windows. More energy efficiency windows can reduce your air conditioning needs but depending upon the number of windows involved it may get expensive. If expense becomes a concern you can always opt to use drapes or window coverings that block out the sunlight effectively. While drapes and window coverings will help, for the best results when justified, I recommend replacing the framing and glass. In some cases replacing your windows can improve their energy efficiency by up to 41% in the summer – when your air conditioning is used most.
Consider shade gardening. If replacing your windows is expensive but you have room for gardening consider planting shade trees on the sunny side of your home. The less direct sunlight that gets into your house, the less heat. Shade trees also have the added benefits of reducing local area CO2 pollution. You can expect a full grown shade tree to gradually remove about 10 lbs of CO2 a year, native trees are always good choice because they are easier to maintain.
Replace non-programmable thermostats with programmable versions. You can save as much as 10% a year on your cooling bills by using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically while you regularly sleeping or out of the house. When you shop for a programmable thermostat, be sure to look for the Energy Star versions.
Install energy efficient roofing. Energy Star offers a number of different Reflective Roof Products that can reduce your peak air conditioning demand by as much as 10-15%.
Use light-colored or “cool” sidings or paints with a high Light Reflective Value (LRV). Most major paint manufacturers can tell you the LRV of any color paint chip. The higher the LRV the more the paint will reflect away heat instead of absorbing it. Keeping your house cooler by reflecting away heat will reduce your air conditioning needs.
Replace your older/inefficient appliances such as old or secondary refrigerator or, replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. The less heat your appliances and inefficient lighting give off the less your air conditioner will have to compensate.
Unplug large consumer electronics when you aren’t using them. Lots of newer electronics have a “sleep mode” that keeps them ready for action. This “sleep mode” uses electricity and because the device is running at some level it will still be creating heat. When not in use,don’t forget to unplug chargers for your smaller devices, too
Properly insulate your home. If you have a home that isn’t properly insulated you can waste a lot of electricity when the cool air created by your air conditioner escapes. Why? Your air conditioner will simply keep working harder to maintain a stable temperature regardless of continuous air leaks. The harder your air conditioner works the more electricity is uses and the more expensive it becomes. If your home has an attic it is very common for air leaks to occur between your living space and the attic space.
An easy way to save money on air conditioning which is often overlooked is through the simple reduction of its use. While enjoying the cool benefits of air conditioning it is easy to overlook its expensive nature, due to the electricity required one has to also consider it’s environmental cost. While being green isn’t always easy, in this case, being green will save you money – by reducing your energy usage.

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Choosing the Right Auto Loan Online

Buying a new car or a used car need not give you headaches anymore. Getting auto loans has become easy; you can now choose from online auto loan lending networks or get an auto loan from your car dealer. And there are many auto loan options available to choose from.

The competition to provide auto loans has boiled down to better, and faster, deals for car loan borrowers. So if you apply for an auto loan today you can probably drive home in your dream machine by the evening!

Choosing the correct auto loan requires some homework on your part – you should be willing to do some research. Not that it is difficult; you can easily do it on the Internet.

First and foremost, you need to evaluate your credit status. You need to ascertain how much of a car loan you can afford. This is important before deciding on to the car to buy. Auto loans require monthly payments, so it should be an amount that fits into your monthly budget. Many auto loan sites have auto loan calculators which can give an idea as to how much your auto loan is going to cost you each month. Once you have worked this out, you can get ready to apply for your auto loan.

Again, the Internet is a great help here. There are thousands of auto loan sites where you can apply for an auto loan online. Completing those forms is usually a breeze: just fill in a few fields and click on the ‘Submit’ button!

Generally the online lenders offer interest rates 1-2 per cent lower than that offered by the auto dealers. That money saved can be used to bear the other costs associated with buying your car.

Online auto loan forms ask for your basic banking details, your job status, and residence proof. Online applications are processed immediately by lenders in the network near to your place of residence. Approvals usually take less than an hour, and more important, on most sites this is a free service. Better still, an approval does not put any obligations on you about taking a loan from that lender.

If you have a clean credit status and a co-signer, then consider your loan semi-approved! The good thing about auto loans is that you can get one even if you have a less than perfect credit history. Most auto loan lenders offer bad credit auto loans. However, some lenders may charge you higher interest rates and a larger down payment because of your bad credit status. Some lenders also restrict the choice of cars models if you have a bad credit status.

Once the loan is approved, you will get loan offers from the lenders and you can choose the loan that you want.

The main criteria for choosing an auto loan should be the rate of interest and the loan period. The loan period for an auto loan is usually three to five years. You can ask for a longer period on your auto loan, say, seven years. But it is always better to repay the loan within a shorter period; that will put a lower interest burden on you. You must also find out from the lender if they allow faster repayment of auto loans without penalty charges. If they do, you can opt to repay the loans faster a few months later (depending on your income) and save on the loan charges.

Auto loans are available for new and used cars. Usually, the loan charges on used car loans are higher than that for new car loans. Research the various auto loan options available and always read the fine print of the loan agreement before you decide on your auto loan.

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Improve Your Poor Credit Score and Secure Yourself a Loan

So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.

Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?

One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.

An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.

There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.

Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.

Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.

Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.

What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.

Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.

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Payment Options for Shopping All the Way

Everyone is busy. Busy in shopping online and in the malls. Popular online portals are breaking and making new sale records! All thanks to the convenience and the availability of easy payment options and funds!

Here are few of the factors that are making online businesses a success

Credit Cards: A credit card is plastic money. It is one of the easiest form in which a person gets a personal loan.

All online portals as well as retailers in malls accept credit cards issued by various banks.
Online payment becomes very simple and safe, thanks to the one time passwords generated for such transactions.
A PIN is sufficient for shopping using a credit card at any retail store.

Personal loans for shopping: When we apply for a personal loan, we don’t have to provide the financier with the details of what we want the loan for.

Thus these days’ personal loans are being used to finance shopping.
They can also be used as wedding loans, vacation loans and educational loans.

Payment Processing: As far as payment processing is concerned, the following factors matter to both the consumer and the online retailer.

Uncomplicated manoeuvring on website: It is important for the payment process to be step-by-step and easy to understand. Most websites work on this section very carefully and thus the online shopping experience is satisfactory.

Processing Costs: Processing costs matter to the retailers. More the processing fees they have to pay to providers of payment gateways like Visa, the lesser are their margins. So to have an effective business the processing costs need to be low.
Number of payment options: Multiple payment options should be available for the customer to make payment. This makes the shopping a convenient proposition.
Time taken to process transactions: Processing time not only tests your patience but sometimes also the strength of your internet connection!

Cash on Delivery: This is also known as “collection on delivery.” This is a very popular mode of making payments for shopping in the developing world.

It enhances impulse purchases.
A credit card is not an essential possession for the buyer.
The buyer can check the quality of the product and then pay

So this festive season, do not hesitate to shop and to gift! The availability of funds for shopping is not difficult anymore. Also the convenience of online shopping has brought various retailers to our doorstep. So let us shop all the way!

An easy way of shopping is using a credit card. It forms an integral part of most people’s financial planning. When used in the right manner, it helps reduce financial liability and optimizes financial resources.

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Are Online Personal Loans Good For People With Bad Credit?

While the rise of online lending in itself makes it more convenient for people to apply for finance, is this development a good thing for those who are already struggling? There are companies out there who charge expensive annual percentage rates (APRs), leaving many people in more trouble than when they first started.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, online lending has earned itself a bad reputation. The internet leaves many people vulnerable to fraud, so you should always exercise caution when inputting your financial details. The best way to make sure your information remains safe is to find a secure, reliable lending platform.

There is an unfair irony attached to lending today. Those with bad credit are often led to believe they have no financial options if they have made mistakes in the past, often making their situations seem more desperate than they actually are. This can result in people making bad decisions and can lead to borrowing through unstable sources.

Meanwhile, any lenders that do accept you with bad credit will charge extortionate interest rates because of your history, making it more difficult for you to meet your monthly repayment obligations – thus worsening your situation. This is a trap that many people fall into, and it gives online installment lenders a bad name.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you can find yourself a reliable lending platform, you will be connected to a secure network of trustworthy lenders who can offer sensible solutions to your borrowing needs. Many of these lenders will assess your application, even if your credit file isn’t perfect or your income is lower than average.

Instead of (or in some cases, as well as) running credit checks, these lenders will take other factors into consideration, including your income and employment circumstances, and how long you have lived at your current address. They may even ask for references they can contact who will vouch for your character personally.

Even those who receive benefits as a form of income will be able to apply, giving everyone a fair and carefully considered chance of borrowing money. In these cases, applicants won’t be accepted for higher loans than they can afford to pay back, and interest rates will be low, meaning there is a better chance of managing repayments.

If you have poor credit and need to borrow money, consider a personal installment loan, but make sure the APR is advertised between 5.99% and 35.99%. There should also be a number of options in terms of flexible repayment, offering you the chance to pay the money back anywhere between six months and six years, depending on what you can afford to pay per month.

Small, carefully considered personal loans could actually help you build a financial profile making you eligible for better future borrowing. As long as the lender is responsible, and offers reasonable interest rates, online lending platforms can actually give people with more opportunities than many other lenders in terms of improving their situation.

With this in mind, personal loans can be beneficial to those hoping to improve their credit score, but only if some caution is exercised by both parties, and you only apply to borrow an amount you can afford to pay back.

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Five Reasons for Refusal of a Personal Loan

Don’t you wish personal finance were a mandatory course in college? Unfortunately, too many of us learn by mistake. When you need a personal loan and are rejected, you might be baffled as to what went wrong- and how to fix it. Here are some clues.

NO CREDIT

No credit is a situation where you have never used credit and therefore have no credit history for the bank to review. They have no way of making an educated decision on whether or not you will pay back a personal loan based on your credit history. No credit is worse than bad credit. Qualifying for and making regular payments on these types of introductory forms of credit can overcome a “no credit” score:

· Student Loans

· Secured credit card (includes a down payment amount)

· Being added to a parent’s or spouses good credit: card, car loan, etc.

LOW CREDIT

Low credit takes on several forms. If you’re using more than 30% of your allowable debt, it can negatively impact your score. Too many inquiries from shopping around for loans will also hit you hard. Lapses in payment, defaults, or bankruptcies are giant red flags and can take a long time to rebuild from.

Other things that lenders may look at are whether or not you have sizeable assets should you default on the loan. They also check to see if your debts are diversified or if you are only carrying one type of debt.

INCOME

Proof of income is generally required when applying for a personal loan. If you are unemployed or underemployed, it can work against you in the loan approval process. Lenders may also require a work history to see how long you have been with your current employer, and to determine if you typically have job stability. Frequent job loss or change will tell a creditor that your payments may not be reliable.

PURPOSE OF THE LOAN

Believe it or not, your application can be rejected due to your proposed purpose for the loan. Financial institutions have the right to set up the parameters surrounding their disbursements and can accept or reject your application based on what you want to use the money for.

BLACKLISTING

If you’ve defaulted on debt before, your name may be put on a list of whom not to loan to,’ also known as a “Blacklist.” This will follow you around for a long time and is difficult to erase. If you do resolve the debt issues, get documents to prove the resolution.

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How Can A Personal Loan Improve Your Credit Score?

When it comes to a personal loan, you have to first learn to use it responsibly. Because if you miss a repayment, your credit score will be impacted adversely. And remember, that a credit score is an indicator of how well you manage your personal finances. Also, it plays a defining role when you apply for any kind of loan – secured and unsecured. It is suggested to apply for a loan slightly larger than what is needed so that you will be assured to have enough money to pay all bills necessary and still have some money left over to ensure that your bank account stays current.

A credit score can be defined as a number which reflects the financial situation of a person. If the person is well-off when it comes to financial matters, then he or she is said to have a high credit score. On the other hand, if a person is the exact opposite of this, then they possess a low credit score. There are a lot of factors that are considered by financial institutions for the purpose of evaluating a person’s credit score – usually, the credit scores of people vary from 300 to about 850.

A personal loan is a type of loan that is given by digital lenders, banks and credit unions to aid you in your plans, be it starting a small business, or making a big purchase. Personal loans tend to have an interest rate(s) lower than the credit cards; however, they can also be put to use for combining several credit card debts together into one monthly lower-cost payment.

Now, your credit score is built by keeping in mind various parameters from your credit reports. These reports serve the purpose of trailing your history of utilization of the credit across the duration of seven years. These credit reports are comprised of information, including how much credit you have utilized to date, the type of credit in your possession, the age of one’s credit accounts, whether one has put in for bankruptcy or liens filed against them, actions of debt collections taken against them, one’s total open lines of credit as well as recent inquiries for hard credit.

Like any other type of credit, personal loans are very capable of affecting your credit score. This can be done through the process of applying and withdrawing a personal loan. If you are curious as to how personal loans can end up affecting your credit, then read on to find out more about the context. There are many ways in which your credit can be affected by personal loans and some of them are listed below:

The ratio of your debt-to-income and loan

Debt-to-income ratio is considered to be the measure of your amount of income that you spend on the debt repayments. In the case of lenders, the amount of income that you receive is said to be one of the major factors proving that you are able to repay your loan.

Some of the lenders have come up with their own debt-to-income ratio so that their proprietary credit scores may make use of it in the form of a credit consideration. Do not fall into the kind of mindset that possessing a high amount of a loan would hurt your credit. The most damage it can do is raise the ratio of your debt-to-income so that you won’t be able to apply for loans anymore without it getting rejected or denied.

Paying loans on time will make credit scores soar

The moment your loan is approved, you have to make sure that you settle the payments of each month on time and in full. Delay in repayment may significantly impact the state of your credit score. However, on the other hand, if you make the payments on time every month, then your credit score will soar high, leading to an overall good score. This will not only make your name to the preferred borrower’s list, but it will prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.

Since your payment history is comprised of almost 35% of your credit score, paying loans on time is essential in cases like these so that your credit score can maintain a positive status.

Variety is built into your credit type

There are about five factors that are responsible for determining your credit score. These are composed of the payment history, the length of the credit history, the utilization ratio of the credit, the credit mix and new inquiries of the credit in accordance with FICO®.

The credit mix only accounts for about 35% of your total credit score, whereas when it comes to a personal loan you can have a varying mix of the credit types. This mix of all types of credit is viewed at a high level of approval by the creditors and lenders.

Origination fee charged by loans

Most of the lenders end up charging you an origination fee. This fee cannot be avoided at any cost and is instantly taken off from the amount of the loan payment. The amount of origination fees depends upon the amount of the loan you are about to borrow. Late payments can lead to an overdraft of fees and late expenses. Therefore, make sure that you pay complete repayment for each month before the deadline.

Avoiding penalties when it comes to payments

Some of the credit lenders tend to charge an additional fee if you end up paying your part of the loan earlier than the agreed date. This is because they are looking for moderate amounts of interest on your loan. Now, seeing that you have paid off your part of the loan before time, they will miss out on that interest that they could have possibly made if you had not cleared the debt soon enough before the deadline.

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