Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Getting Business Insurance

This might come as a surprise to some, but getting the right insurance for your business might be one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner. The consequences of inadequate coverage, or no coverage, could be devastating. There is a whole world of things that can happen to you and your business. Not protecting yourself and your business with the right insurance could cost you in so many ways.

That’s why engaging in a process of obtaining business insurance right for you and your company is so important. Do you know what general commercial liability insurance is? Well, if you don’t, then it’s just another reason why doing it right is so important. Not doing it right might cost you when you need help the most — during crisis. It’s why people get insurance. It’s why smart business people get smart business insurance.

Doing it right essentially means avoiding some common mistakes made when trying to get the best insurance policy for your business. Knowing what some of these mistakes are, and avoiding them in the future, will help you in your quest to simply make the right business decision when it comes to insurance.

Top 5 Mistakes When Getting Business Insurance:

1. Discounting the importance of business insurance

Business people of all types, whether it be CEO’s of large business conglomerates, or even someone just working out of their home office, have their own set of reasons for getting insurance specifically for their business. But not all business people necessarily think this way. Some think it might be too costly. Some think it might not be necessary . Some may even think that they’re covered by other insurance policies that they have for their property or for themselves.

Not having the insurance specifically tailored for your business often comes as a result of simply not thinking that it’s necessary. But it is. Take general commercial liability insurance, for example. This kind of insurance protects businesses from the costs of lawsuits resulting from basic damages done to people or property that have even the slightest contact with what you do. Not having this coverage when someone decides to throw a lawsuit at you, even if frivolous, could cost you in terms of money and reputation.

2. Not knowing the basic issues

It’s nice to think that insurance is just insurance, but it isn’t. Would you get car insurance for you house? Would you get life insurance for your healthcare? Of course you wouldn’t.

Yes, some of the issues involved in business insurance are similar to other forms of insurance. A good policy will, for example, protect your assets in case they get stolen. It will also protect you if bad weather destroys your business property. These are straightforward insurance issues for your business. But don’t be fooled into believing that they’re the only insurance issues for your business.

For example, take general commercial liability insurance. Some business owners might not even know what liability insurance actually is. It’s the insurance that protects you from the financial costs resulting from a lawsuit from somebody who claims they or their property has been hurt or injured as a result of the way your business conducted itself. General commercial liability insurance is the kind of insurance those companies engaging in commercial activities get to protect themselves because people hurt themselves on their premises or one of their products did damage to someone’s property. Being knowledgeable about these kinds of things will most certainly help you get the right insurance.

3. Not getting insurance early enough

There are two things that can happen to you if you don’t get insurance for your business early enough. The obvious one is that you’ll need it before you get it, and you’ll be stuck with paying for the damages from a storm or a lawsuit yourself. The other thing that can happen is that you will not have a budget for your start-up for the proper insurance, so you’ll get stuck with inadequate coverage. That’s the last thing you want to happen. Therefore, to avoid it, thinking about insurance as early as possible, even at the business plan stage, will help you create the budget you need to get you adequately covered for all future circumstances.

4. Getting the wrong kind of insurance provider

Perhaps the most tempting option for someone seeking business insurance is to get it through insurance companies they’re already doing business with. So, for example, you like how your house is covered, and who’s covering it, so you’ll seek to extend that coverage to your business, too.

The reason this is inadvisable, or should at least be looked at very carefully, is that your property insurance provider might simply not have the kind of experience with the kind of insurance you need for your business.

For example, if general commercial liability is what your particular business is in need of, even if a provider carries that kind of insurance, they may simply not have enough developed expertise to know what’s right for your particular needs. Ideally, only those companies and agents who have dealt with your kind of business before can help your kind of business get you adequately covered for your particular situation.

5. Getting the wrong kind of coverage

Following from the risk of getting the wrong insurance provider, a mistake to avoid is getting the wrong kind of coverage. Ultimately, you’re the person in charge of making the right business decisions for your company. You’re the best person suited to look out for your own interests. No one else is. That’s why it’s incumbent upon you to make sure you’ve got the right coverage for you and your situation.

As much of the above already suggests, delegating these decisions is important. Yet, in the end, it’s you who has to decide if you have the right kind of coverage for your business. After going through the entire process, collecting all the information, and talking to the right people, it’s you who makes the decision. Make sure it’s the right one for your business and where you want to take it.

Is India Geared Up for Business Method Patent?

Introduction

Today technology is changing expeditiously. New technical inventions are taking place in huge number. These new inventions open new field of subject-matter for protection under Intellectual Property Law. Intellectual Property law gives an umbrella protection to new inventors. Patent provide protection for those line of process, products which are novel and are capable of proving that it involves an inventive step. USPTO grants maximum patents in a year. The paper written here advocates the invalidity of Business Method patent in Indian scenario. Business method today is capable of IP protection in countries like USA, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. India is against granting of protection to Business Method.

Definition: Business Method Patent

Business Patents are those patents which are given to business methods or business systems or like. A business method may be defined as “a method of operating any aspect of an economic enterprise”. Business method patents are part of a larger family of patents known as utility patents, which protect inventions, chemical formulas, processes, and other discoveries. A business method is classified as a process, because it is not a physical object like a mechanical invention or chemical composition.

Background To Business Method Patents

Business Method Patents were not considered as a subject matter for protection under Patent Law. Earlier Business Method was considered as an abstract idea and was thus not falling under the purview of Patents. But by a decision by a Federal Court even Business Method have been granted patent protection. Section 101 of US Patent Act defines Inventions which are capable of Patent protection.

A combine reading of Sections 101, 102, 103 and 112 will lead to following construction:

o Any process, machine or composition of matter may be patented if;

o It is new (Novelty Section 102), Non-obvious (Section 103) and is capable of adequate description and invention (Section 112).

Protection Under TRIPS

TRIPS also provide subject matter for patent protection. Article 27 paragraph 1 of the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights (TRIPS) provides that “patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application…”

Further, Article 27 paragraph 2 of the TRIPS agreement permits Members to “exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect order public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment, provided that such exclusion is not made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by their law.”

Cases In Which Business Method Was Upheld

Concept of Business method patent is now a decade old. State Street case is an important decision in this regard. Further developments have taken place after this judgment.

Business Method was considered as an exception to Patent protection until 1998. The first case of this kind was filed in the year 1908. In Hotel Security case the question was whether business methods can be said to be patentable. Here the case rejected the argument of it being capable of protection and created a per se exception to business methods. It was until year 1998 that this position was accepted.

1. State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group, Inc.

In the present case the District Court had rejected application for Business Method Patent on the said process of “hub and space”. But Later the Federal Circuit confirmed that there is no rule which prohibits the patentability of “business methods.” The Court stated “The judicially-created business method exception to patentability is . . . an unwarranted encumbrance to the definition of statutory subject matter in section 101 that should be discarded as error-prone, redundant, and obsolete.” It merits retirement from the glossary of section 101. Patentability does not turn on whether the claimed method does “business” instead of something else, but on whether the method, viewed as a whole, meets the requirements of patentability as set forth in Sections 102, 103, and 112 of the Patent Act.

Federal Court further clarified that it was never intended that business methods should be kept out of the subject matter. Rather in earlier few cases claim was rejected due to incapability of those methods to be taken as inventions. Thus, State Street confirmed that business methods can be patented if they meet the statutory requirements of utility, novelty and non-obviousness.

2. Amazon.com Inc. v. Barnsandnoble.com

In this case one-click patent to Amazon.com was criticized by few writers on the ground of it being “unplanned mutation”. Here an injunction was granted to Barnes & Noble for not using the said feature. This case clearly reflects drawbacks that can arise in case a business patent is protected in countries which are still developing their technologies. Later part of my paper deals with disadvantage that granting a business method patent can have.

Amendments Brought After State Street Case

Now that the situation is clear with respect to business method patents in US laws, it can be said that business method are capable of granting patent protection. But in order that no ambiguity remains the USPTO publicly announced that in terms of granting protection sufficient prior art search should be undertaken.

1. Class 705

A new classification (Class 705) was introduced for the filing of business method patents under the more generic utility patent applications: “Data processing: financial, business practice, management or cost/price determination.” Specifically, Class 705 includes sub-categories for industries such as health care, insurance, electronic shopping, inventory management, accounting, and finance.

2. Amendment In Title 35

Section 100 Title 35, United States Code, was amended to provide for improvements in the quality of patents on certain inventions. Thus, ‘Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000”was passed. The term business method patent has been defined under the Act. What is surprising is the fact that under the definition any “technique used in Athletics” can also be qualified as a Business Method Patent.

Interim Guidelines

For providing better uniformity in the system Interim Guidelines were published for Examination of Patent Applications for Patent Subject Matter Eligibility on October 26, 2005

Lacunas Prevalent In Method Adopted At USPTO

It has been observed that the method of granting patent in USPTO is without a substantial base. Patents at USPTO are granted not on a quality basis, rather on quantity basis. The following are serious lacunas which should be given a serious thought:-

1. In USPTO examiners are not properly trained to search prior art. Prior art search is scattered and hence proper care is required while doing a prior art search. But since the examiners are not provided with enough resources quality somewhere lacks while granting a Patent

2. Further it has been observed that in USPTO examiners get bonuses on allowing a patent rather than rejecting it. Hence the result can be seen more the acceptance by examiners, more the bonus. The process should change and bonus should be given only while rejecting a patent.

3. Once a patent is granted USPTO doesn’t conduct a review or quality control.

4. Mostly claims use ambiguous language which leads to more confusion in mind of patent examiner.
Thus affecting the quality of specific invention.

Disadvantage O Granting a Business Method Patent

1. Once a patent is granted for an invention it is capable of securing the rights of patentee for a period of 20 years. Thus it can be well understood that if patent is granted for a business method then it would obstruct new technological research for the next 20 years to come.

2. Granting a patent on business method would create a monopolistic situation which would hinder growth. It would mean an unhealthy competition.

Advantage Of Granting A Business Method Patent:

1. Copyright protection is insufficient to protect Business method. All Research and Development that is done requires that something more that Copyright protection should be given in order to reward Business ideas.

2. Start-ups should be encouraged. New companies would benefit with a concept of such kind. Initially patent protection to such starting groups would definitely benefit them in order to have a strong stand in front of powerful companies. Business method patents create the artificial scarcity needed to preserve market power and restore the incentive to innovate.

Solution For A Business Method Protection

1. The paper here accepts granting of business patents but not at the cost of technological or economical growth. Thus in order to benefit both inventor and other co-inventors in line it would be better to grant patent protection only for a limited period of 3 years for Business method Patents. Thus law should help in sustaining a collaborative effort.

2. Change in the Patent System at USPTO is also required. The one sentence rule should be eliminated so as to faciltitate clearer language. Thus, it would help patent examiners and also leave less scope for manuplation by patent lawyers. Also person applying should disclose his computer code to the patent examiner.

3. Salary of Patent examiners should be increased. Also USPTO should give bonuses on rejecting a patent application rather than on accepting it as earlier mentioned in paper.

Should Patent Be Granted On Business Method In India

India is a developing economy. We are still unable to cope up with many threats like poverty, unemployment and population. In global market India is considered as a growing economy. Our youths are taking India to greater heights. All this reflect that we require a technological and economical boom. It needs to be mentioned that countries which have granted business method patents are developed countries. Conformance with TRIPS is particularly slow in developing countries, notably Argentina, Brazil, India and Egypt. Further I believe that granting a business method patent in India would impede technological growth in our country. Hence I am of opinion that business method patent should not be granted in India.

Conclusion

With boom in intellect ideas in corporate world it is required that these should be protected and respected. But fortification of these ideas by means of patent might not be profitable at this stage in developing countries. Grant of business method patent in US saw mixed reactions from experts of law. Moot problem was the modus operandi for granting of business method patent at USPTO. US have also drafted an Act called Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000 with respect to protection of business methods ironically athletic techniques are also within the purview of Business methods.

Patent over a particular invention protects it for a period of twenty years. Thus a patentee acquires an exclusive right over it (subject to Patent Act) and thus has right to prevent infringement of it during the said period. Thus in case of protection to business method the patentee would be in a position to stop the claimant of patent for a period of 20 years. Thus it would imply that business related methods/ideas would be retarded for such a long period. It can be thus concluded that Business method may be granted but it should be granted for a lesser duration of time and preference should be given to new companies. Thus Indian Patent system may move a step ahead for grant of Business method patent in future but not at present. It would be beneficial that there is no amendment in Section 2(k) of Indian Patent Act, 1970 for the next five years.

Written By:

Apoorva Yadav,

Final Year Student,

National Law Institute University, [NLIU]

Bhopal (M.P)

How To Choose An Online Business Card Printer

It’s gotten way too confusing to order business cards online. How do you choose a business card printer when there seem to be millions of them competing for your business?

Shopping for business card printing online is like shopping for any other product – your goal is to find what you what, for a reasonable price, from a reputable dealer. The problem when buying business cards online is making sure you’re comparing apples to apples, as the saying goes.

Finding the Business Cards You Want

Your first task is to find an online business card printer who carries the type of business card you want. Most online business card printers offer full-color business cards in a standard size (3″ by 2.5″), so a simple search for “business cards” or “business card printing” will find those.

You will need to decide whether to use custom artwork for your business card or one of the pre-designed backgrounds or templates offered by many business card printers. Again, many online business card printers allow you to order business cards either way.

Don’t be put off by the idea of using backgrounds that are available to everyone else; odds are slim that any of your direct competitors will find and use the same background. And these are professionally done designs that flat-out make you look good to prospects. (Much better than a homemade business card!)

If you need different cards, such as die-cut business cards or embossed (raised print) business cards, those are also easy to find using your favorite search engine. Many business card printers offer more than one type of card – raised print, one-color or full-color, for example. Some even offer magnetic cards, sticker cards and more.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’re looking for full color business cards.

Paying a Reasonable Price for Business Cards

Business cards are the bargain buy of the marketing world, but comparison-shopping for business cards can be a nightmare. It’s not enough to compare style and price of business cards between printers (say, 1000 full-color cards, printed on one side – 4/0).

Besides the style and price, you also should compare:

  • the thickness of the card stock (a 14pt card is sturdier than a 10pt card);
  • whether or not a protective coating is included in the price (and which type – a card can be “glossy” without having the protection of UV coating, and UV coating is generally considered more desirable than aqueous coating);
  • whether or not there are extra charges, such as a fee to upload your own images;
  • how many (or how few) business cards you can order at a time;
  • shipping costs; and, last but not least;
  • the reputation of the business card printing company.

Finding a Reputable Business Card Printer

Online business card printers who’ve made it to the top of the search engines, and stayed there, are generally okay – but not necessarily.

In fact, one popular, high-ranking business card printer online has such a pattern of complaints that they’ve received an “Unsatisfactory” rating from the Better Business Bureau. (This company’s cards are also of substandard size, although it’s hard to tell unless you directly compare them with another business card.)

So one guideline is to look for a designation such as Better Business Bureau approval or Bizrate certification. If a company has won such a designation, they’ll probably mention it somewhere on their website. Testimonials are another clue – but it isn’t hard to find a dozen happy people out of thousands of customers, so read them with a grain of salt.

Another way to assess a business card printer is to request samples of their business cards – not only will you get to examine actual cards, but you’ll get a feel for their customer service as well.

One Last Complication

Did you know that many, if not most, of the business card printers on the web are dealers for two or three huge wholesale business card printing companies? That’s right – you spend all that time shopping for the right business card printer and you probably don’t realize you’re comparing identical cards.

(You usually can’t tell until you reach the section of the website where you actually choose and edit a business card template or background – the URL will change.)

Now there’s nothing wrong with these online business card dealers, many of whom add value by educating people about business cards, just as I do, and nothing wrong with the business cards. But knowing that many business card printers online offer the exact same cards should save you some comparison time!

Given the affordability, portability and versatility of business cards, it is certainly worth taking time to shop around for the right business card printer for your business. And now that you understand some of the differences, you’ll make a more informed decision when you next go looking for a business card printer on the Internet.