How to Pick a Name, and the Inc. Way to Pick a College
BY Max Chafkin
Beware the Canadian pirates. Okay, so you knew that Russia and China are not exactly paradise for patent holders. But Canada as a hotbed of IP theft? That's the contention of the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a consortium of copyright industry trade groups based in the U.S., which released its annual watch list this week of 38 countries that need to crack down on IP infringement. The group singled out China, Russia, and our heretofore innocuous neighbor to the north, Canada. Ars Technica says Taiwan is dropped from the list for the first time in a decade. To justify its list, IIPA includes industry-specific breakdowns for dollar losses to U.S. companies by country. IIPA claims member groups lost $18.4 billion from lax IP enforcement and ineffective law in 2008, $16.4 billion of that was business software makers.
More naming troubles. In December we chronicled James Siminoff's struggle to rename his start-up and acquire a corresponding URL. Turns out, naming and branding is a fairly common problem for new companies. Common enough that Siminoff is dealing with it again as he tries to launch a new company. On his blog, Siminoff talks about his attempts to buy the name Grid.com. It's a funny tale, which includes a demand for $800,000, a court battle, and tons of other good stuff.
Why are recessions so miserable? Because even people who keep their jobs are depressed. Nearly half of all Americans fear they'll lose their job, a new AP poll finds. That's up from 28 percent the same time last year. One upside for employers fortunate enough to be hiring: lots and lots of applicants, even for less than desirable jobs.
As if you didn't have enough to worry about. The Wall Street Journal's small business blog warns of a rising threat to small businesses: employee fraud. How can you protect yourself? The WSJ has some suggestions, like installing a video camera and making sure your employees take vacations.
Loan Guarantees could come quickly for Tesla. The new Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, says that loan guarantees for green technology companies could start as early as April, according to Reuters. That's good news for cleantech startups, and, according to Greensheet, great news for Tesla Motors, the electric car startup that needs a loan guarantee to get its next model into production. Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company will unveil the new car next month, with production scheduled to begin in 2011. (For more, check out Inc.'s coverage of Musk and Tesla.)
Which College is Best?. Right now, it's Yale--with the University of Missouri in second place. Inc.'s March issue profiles the coolest college startups, and now we're asking readers to pick their favorites. So far, the favorite is a Yale-based company called GXStudios which creates college-themed war games (basically customized versions of Risk) that attract thousands players who compete on teams. Check out all the companies, and then tell us which you like best.
Fallout from state budget cuts. States like California and New Jersey are trying to curb budget deficits, but cutting state payrolls could hit private businesses too. That's according to a study by the University of Connecticut, which found that $1 billion in cuts to state payrolls would cost Connecticut's economy 7,000 private-sector jobs this year on top of any direct layoffs.
Baseball tries to adapt to bust. Fortune has a piece on how to keep baseball fans loyal despite the downturn. America's favorite pastime—after bank nationalization, of course—has been hard-hit by the recession as corporate sponsorships disappear and demand drops for premium seats. Teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks are making accommodations to keep their games affordable. They're prioritizing customer service—by offering $1.50 hot dogs and allowing shared season tickets—to ensure that the recession doesn't scare penny-pinched fans away from the stadium.