Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do Bill Collectors Have Any Rules to Follow?

Harassing creditor calls is one of the most common problems people have when they come into my office to file bankruptcy. They are bothering folks—calling them during the day, at night, before work, and even after work. This year, I even read that the stress of creditor calls caused a man to have a heart attack, which he died from.

There is actually a set of rules that bill collectors are supposed to follow that is found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. According to those rules, they shouldn't be harassing you, using abusive language, lying to you, or adding charges to your account without authorization.

They also shouldn't be calling you at work or bothering your relatives. Unfortunately, bill collectors don't always follow the rules and creditors from your lender may not be subject to the same rules as a collection agency. They sometimes even escalate the situation further. I've heard of cases where collectors are screaming at people, demanding their money, and even physically threatening them.

It is important to keep in mind that collectors have a legitimate claim and they can follow through on some of their threats—like getting a judgment against you and garnishing your wages. You cannot just disconnect your phone or ignore the calls and then assume you don't have to pay the debt. A creditor will not be deterred from taking action against you just because they don't talk to you on the phone.

At my office, you can stop harassing creditor calls as soon as you retain me. Filing bankruptcy stop collectors from calling you, garnishing your wages, levying your bank accounts, or taking any further action. We have a special "creditor line" that all bill collectors can be referred to. Our office can even continue to take action if your creditors persist by issuing a "hot call" where we call your creditors for you.

Before you hire a bankruptcy attorney, you want to make sure that they are willing to go above and beyond to stop your creditors from harassing you. How can you find out? It is often free to talk to a bankruptcy attorney the first time. Don't forget to ask any attorney what their plan is to help you if your creditors continue to harass you after you've filed for bankruptcy. If they aren't willing to help you, it may be a sign that they won't be willing to help you with other problems that come up during your case.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Monday, December 14, 2009

National Background Checks: The Best Way to Trace Criminals

National background checks are the best way to check any individual’s past. This service has a very large database and it covers almost every individual’s background in the United States. This is a very efficient tool especially if you are looking for criminal records down the line of a specific person. The best thing about this service is that you can actually get the results in no time.

Where is the source of this service? This service got all their information regarding each individual in government and also non-government agencies. Both of which (government and non-government) have a large range from the whole country, state, cities, town and all the national areas. With this type of service, no criminal can fake or even conceal his or her past records.

How do you use national background checks services? All you have to do is to simply key in the name of the person you are searching for. Not only persons are allowed, you can also search for properties. After which, you have to choose the state and the other specific address location of the person. There is other additional information too that you have fill in to be able to help in the process.

Why is using this service very important? First of all, you can not simply trust anybody in this day and age. There are more and more people who are involved in crimes and it is sad to say that these people look pretty decent on the outside. You can never judge a person by his or her looks alone. Sure, companies are looking for someone with a pleasing personality and someone who can face the clients and who is decent-looking but as an employer you should still be extra cautious.

As an employer, national background checks are important because you will be able to know the background of the potential employee you are hiring. Would you want a crazy lunatic murderer be part of your team or company? Would you want someone who steals to go inside your offices? Of course you wouldn’t answer in the affirmative. So how do you deal with it? You should check their background information. Remember that these employees will represent your company. If you get someone who is a criminal in the past, that is the representation of your company whether you like it or not. If you think you are being discriminative, you are not. You are only being cautious.

If you also have a business like you have a house or a room rental, as a landlord, you have the right to check the criminal background of your tenants. Not only that, you can also check the financial background of your tenants. It is not being intrusive because it is your right. After all, this person will be renting your space and will live in your land. It is your accountability as a landlord if something will happen to your other tenants or if that person is under financial debt or rut because it is not them who will suffer but you and your credibility as a businesswoman.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Drug and Alcohol Testing Consortiums

A consortium is simply a group of independent businesses that join together for a common purpose. In this case, the intent is to provide an opportunity to satisfy the federal drug and alcohol testing laws. Heavy fines are imposed for those who are required to belong to some kind of program, but neglect to do so.

In life today our individual safety often rests in someone else’s hands. We expect to go through the business of living, unharmed. Unfortunately, sometimes we interact with people who are in positions that may injure us. It could be another driver, a coworker, a store clerk or a waiter. Usually, it’s not an intentional act. More likely, it’s through a person’s negligence that accidents occur.

Sometimes, the negligence is because someone is using illegal drugs or had too much to drink. That’s where the drug and alcohol testing consortiums come in. The goal of these testing programs is to weed out drug and alcohol users before they can become a danger to others.

For example, CDL truck drivers with their own authority, USCG licensed captains and their crew on charter boats, train operators, pilots, airplane mechanics, manufacturers and many other kinds of companies all have positions of safety sensitive responsibility. That is where errors on their jobs can result in injury to another person. These individuals and groups must belong to a program that meets the government’s strict testing requirements. Consortiums like the one run by www.DrugTestingConsortium.com will determine where and when a person is to go for the required random testing. They will also certify that the results are accurate and report them to the proper authorities.

These programs are not the perfect answer to eliminating work place accidents. But, they are required by law and help to keep us all safer. And since joining a drug testing consortium is not a very expensive procedure, they appear to be a good idea for all of us.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Registration of Foreign Corporation in the Philippines

Registration of Foreign Corporation in the Philippines
The Executive Branch of the Philippine Government has various agencies, instrumentalities, departments, bureaus and entities that are under the control and supervision of the Philippine President. The different heads of the agencies and departments are considered as an alter-ego of the President. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Board of Investment (BOI) are instrumentalities under the Executive Department of the Philippine Government.

It is a well-settled rule that a corporation established under foreign laws is considered a foreign corporation. In this jurisdiction, a foreign corporation duly registered in or licensed by government entities like the PEZA and the BOI can acquire legal personality, engage in internal trade, and is obliged to respect the Principle of Reciprocity among nations.

Legal Personality
Registration of a foreign corporation in the appropriate departments and government entities vest legal title or personality to foreign corporation to engage business inside the Philippine jurisdiction.

A duly licensed or registered foreign corporation has the power to sue and can be sued in Philippine courts. Absence of licensed or registration will not entitle the foreign corporation to sue but can be sued instead.

However, a foreign corporation is authorized to sue even if not licensed or registered when it only engages in isolated transactions and when the law specifically provides.

Under the Philippine law, a court can obtain jurisdiction over foreign corporation by the proper service of summons. Service of summons to foreign corporation which has transacted business in the Philippines whether licensed/ registered or in an isolated transaction maybe made on its resident agent designated by law for that purpose, or in case there is no agent, the government official designated by law, such as the Insurance Commissioner (in cases of foreign insurance corporation), the Superintendent of Banks (in cases of Foreign banks) and the Security and Exchange Commission (for other foreign corporation registered or licensed to do business in the Philippines).

Whenever service of Summons is so made to the government official, the government official shall be obliged to transmit the same by mail or other legal process to the corporation concerned.

Internal Trade
Foreign Corporation registered in PEZA and BOI can carry on substantial internal trade. The foreign corporation can also direct and develop operations and enterprises of domestic corporations. Furthermore, it can invest a considerable amount of capital to certain enterprises.

Moreover, the corporation can also purchase shares of stocks in a legitimate stock market for a minimum share authorized by law. Thus, registration in PEZA and BOI authorizes the foreign corporation to freely engage in business ventures with in the Philippine jurisdiction.

Under the law, the President of the Philippines may allow entry of foreign corporation when warranted by public interest, such as oil drilling companies, Board of Investments, registered enterprises and Philippine Economic Zone Authority registered enterprises.

Principle of Reciprocity
The principle of reciprocity speaks of mutuality among the party states. Benefits given by a state to citizens of another state who are found within the country of the granting state shall also be granted to the citizens found within the partner state. Usually, the Principle of Reciprocity is in a form of a treaty, signed by different representatives of party states. In this jurisdiction, the legislative departments can enact laws that can be favorable to a registered foreign corporation, provided such is also granted to the Filipino citizens who are within the jurisdiction of the grantee state.

The President of the Philippines can issue Executive Orders, and Presidential Decrees that are favorable to the conduct of foreign corporation. Some of these favor personnel of offshore banking units which is provided under Presidential Decree 1034 and Required Area headquarters of Multinational Companies under Executive Order 226, wherein they are entitled for Multiple Entry Special Visa to the Philippines. Also, their respective spouses and minor dependents below 21 years old are benefited. The multiple entry special visas are valid for 1 year and can be extended based on legal or meritorious grounds. Holders of this visa type are exempted from immigration fees and registration apart from all clearances from any form of government agency before final departure.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Why Training Is Now A Necessity For Those Using A Scissor Lift

Since 2005 new Work at Height Regulations have been in effect as a way to improve safety in all manner of industries that use mobile access machinery, the scissor lift and scaffolding. Part of these regulations have been created to make sure that the person using powered access machinery has had a suitable level of training. By ensuring there are always workers with training when people are using access machinery, it is hoped that safety will be increased. The scissor lift falls into the powered access machinery category, being referred to as a mobile elevated platform or MEWP for short.

MEWPs are used in a large variety of industries, allowing workers to reach inaccessible areas speedily and safely. The contemporary scissor lift has been designed with guard rails that actively work towards preventing falls and dangerous situations. This type of machinery can also be used in interiors and exteriors meaning it is a far reaching mobile access solution. In terms of the usability of the scissor lift, painters and decorators regularly use them, as do maintenance workers such as electricians who need to access wiring in large halls or auditoriums. It is hoped that by the release of the Work at height Regulations 2005 that the safety in all of these industries will be improved, allowing workers to perform their roles safely and effectively.

Training courses are in abundance when it comes to the use of the scissor lift. With effective training operators are given the knowledge to select thee right lift for the job, part of this process includes taking account of the maximum height of the lift, how large the platform is and the amount of safety equipment affixed to the platform. It is not just the government however that have strived to making the use of powered access machinery safer, IPAF and independent body of manufacturers and users has recently embarked upon a 'clunk, click' campaign. This campaign resembles the road safety variant of the same name and attempts to put safety issues at the forefront of all workers' minds that utilise mechanised lifting solutions. IPAF are also working in conjunction with government ministers to further develop the safety procedures for working at height to create a safer working environment.

As previously stated having training means that the selection of the right equipment is assured. This thought process must first assess the height of the job as a machine that only reaches with the worker at full stretch will not be suitable. In addition, training enables operators to make an assessment of the working area. Factors such as nearby doorways, any external weather condition, such as high winds, and the surface the machinery is to be placed upon should all be taken into account. Once again having suitable knowledge to recognise the risks posed by oncoming traffic or overhanging hazards is essential.

As a part of the Work at Height Regulations, training is considered a legal necessity. As an employer it is important to ensure all staff members working on access equipment have had training, otherwise legal penalties can become an issue. None of these developments should be begrudged however, with accidents costing thousands in compensation, as well as the human costs of debilitating injuries or even death, the response of the government to make the use of powered access machinery is an understandable and required response.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Saturday, December 12, 2009

I want to sell my idea for $ 1 million, I just don’t know how to go about it?

You often hear someone bragged that they have this fantastic idea and they want to sell it for one million bucks! Or perhaps even you yourself have thought of it before. And why not, who would not want to be rich, right. But boasting it is of no use. First of all, having an idea that can be sold is not an easy thing. For one thing, it has to be documented, and preferably even filed as a patent. For another thing, disclosing it could give away the idea and kissing it goodbye. But in actuality, many ideas have been stolen from their rightful owner just because the owner did not know how to go about it. There is a proper and safe way to thread, but most people don’t know about it. It is like when you need to pass motion, then only you go and search for the loo! Or worse, just brag about it and tell the idea to all and sundry, and hope that someone will guide them to that pot of gold. Let us assume that you have indeed a good idea, an idea that can be commercially exploited for monetary gains. So how does one go about it?

There is this thing called intellectual property and there are proper procedures to get that idea of yours properly documented with the patent office. You can get your ideas written out as a document and filed as a patent or if it is a logo or a brand, you can get it registered as a trademark. If you have a book written, or a music score, you can get it properly copyrighted. Works of the mind are automatically deemed copyrighted once it is published, but you should have a proper record of it so that somebody else can’t steal your property. However, going the way of filing for your intellectual property is a long and costly process. Most people would feel uncomfortable to go this way, and if there is an easier way, they would certainly want to hear about it. There is of course an easier way, but if could reduce the value of that asset. Just what is the alternative to filing patents then?

One of the more practical ways is to sell that idea of yours to a company, assuming that you already got a patent grant on it. Here, you can sell the idea outright, or license the idea to a third party for manufacture and sale. Of course you will have to do some research first to identify who would likely need your idea. It all sounds easy right? Unfortunately, it is not, and it is more like looking for the needle in a haystack! For one thing, companies normally will not entertain unsolicited ideas. Just imagine, there are so many departments in a company, so which department door to knock at? There is normally no such a department as ‘ideas department’! If you go to the sales department, you will be disappointed because the sales people will not help you out. They will not want more products to sell! And if you go to the technical department and tell them your idea, they would have too big an ego to accept your outside idea, or worse off, they might just steal your idea and tell their boss that ‘they’ have come out with the idea! So, selling your idea to another company is an uphill task. If your idea is not properly documented, or waiting for grant of patent, the task of selling it off is even more difficult. Well, what then?

Luckily, there is another alternative. You can sell your idea, whether patented or not, through a patent broker or an intellectual property brokerage firm. These companies specialize in seeking buyers for your ideas. They act like middle man, and some of them have become so specialized that if you only give them a raw idea, they can use their professional expertise to size up the idea and sugar coat it so that it appeals to a buyer. They also act professionally to get the best price for you. However, not all brokers can offer you these kinds of services. They have to be technically competent, as well as idea creators themselves, and inventors of some kind. It is often the case that whatever the idea that you are touting; there is always an element of incompleteness somewhere. In order to sell an idea, you would need to know who your competitors out there are. To do a proper job, these professional brokers will need to do a proper research in terms of technicality, and prices. And who else have such qualifications? Yes, it is the patent agents! They know the implication of the ideas as they have been drafting patents all along. They also know who the competitors are out there because they have to research other people’s patents when they do patent drafting. However it is only recently that such professionals have come to the fore and hopefully, they will bring about a renaissance to the field of patent brokering. And if you are wondering whether that half-an-idea of yours can be sold, the answer is ‘YES’. How about half a million? It is better than just dreaming!

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


Steps to Conduct a Patent Search

A patent refers to the right granted to an inventor for discovering any new machine, useful process or a manufacturing item. This right gives patent holder the right to prohibit others from using, making, patent sales or selling in US the claimed invention in patent exchange for full disclosure of invention. A patent is a simple way of protecting any discovery or invention.

For conducting a patent search, there are few things that are needed such as US patent applications, patent marketing services, patent file histories, patent referral services, patent software and patent searching service. Here we provide you with some steps that need to be followed for conducting a patent search.

Conduct self-search
  • First determine which kind of patent you want to seek. Utility patent covers up functional facets of invention whereas the design patent covers up only the appearance of invention.
  • Access patent database online like the ones offered by U.S. PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) and IBM. Find out the most important categories and sub-categories for the invention.
  • Read out class descriptions in database for finding out, which are the ones that hold immense significance.
  • Review all the patents that are issued within the categories or classes.
  • Carry out the keyword searches for the potential invention. Don’t leave any stone unturned.
  • Gather your entire patent search results in report.
Hire Professional Experts
  • You need to know the options first—a patent attorney or patent agent or lay searcher. Patent agent is the one having a technical training and is licensed by U.S. PTO for preparing the US patent applications. For finding out patent searchers, you can have a look in yellow pages under the category of ‘Patent Searchers’.
  • Make use of the searcher’s services proficiently. Do this by offering the searcher with complete and clear description of your discoveries or invention along with drawings.
  • Analyze the searcher’s response methodically.
Warnings and Tips
  • You mustn’t be concerned about compromising your invention’s trade secrets while corresponding with the professional searcher. The information exchanged is regarded as confidential.
  • Most of the search reports include the following: description of the invention or discovery provided by searcher for confirming absolute understanding of the invention and to just indicate what has been searched; list of references and patents discovered at the time of search, brief discussion about found patents and the references etc.
  • In order to have a thorough patent search with utmost accuracy you should be well aware about all the practices and techniques related to it. It is better to gather further information on the matter before you try your hands on it.
  • Always try to have legal references and seek consultation from a patent attorney. This will guide you to up-to-date and comprehensive information.
  • Inadequate or incomplete patent searches can simply waste money and time. Search comprehensively to ensure your plan is patentable and doesn’t infringe on the patents, which are in effect.
Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


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