Friday, March 11, 2011

From Bar to Par: Law and Golf (the game): Inventions Patents Litigation Trademarks at Golf-Patents.com

Back in my younger days in Lincoln, Nebraska, the golf season always started at or around March 15 when the courses opened their doors, and I imagine in many parts of the country that hasn't changed much, as the golf season for most of us is just in the starting blocks, weather permitting (!).

For the mental transition from "bar" to "par", see the David Dawsey blog Golf-Patents.com at The IP Golf Guy - The Golf Patent Lawyer (Golf Inventions, Patents, Litigation, Trademarks)

Auto-Renewals and Telecommunications: UK Ofcom to Ban ARCs (Automatically Renewable Contracts, Rollover Contracts) that Impose Leaving Penalties

Pinsent Masons Out-Law.com writes about Ofcom in the UK that:
"Rollover contracts with leaving penalties to be banned"
because they 1) increase consumer exposure to switching costs and, 2) lessen competition in the market.

These kinds of auto-renewal contracts are one of our major pet peeves as they are the standard way to do business in telecommunications and a host of other service industries in our own domicile and negatively impact the competitiveness of markets.

In Germany, customers who are tied into standard ARC contracts for mobile phones (usually 2 years) or a host of other services, which can include utilities, cable television, internet providers, etc. usually stick with their old products and/or services because it is just too much trouble and expense to make any change, and often, if a change is made because of a better competitive offer from the competition, it is made in the serendipity time frame of the small window that exists for opting out of contract renewal. If a competitor approaches you during that magic window, you might change. Otherwise not.

I recently opted out of a mobile phone contract in writing only to receive a reply that the opt-out could only be done in the last three months of the contract, writing or not, so I had to make a special note in my calendar to send a new opt-out letter six months later! A customer who forgets to do that is otherwise simply stuck then with the old -- usually no longer competitive -- contract.

Companies intentionally make it difficult for people to avoid auto-renewal because many surely "live" from just that business under the motto that "once the hook is in ....". 

We posted at LawPundit in the past about this problem at:

Misleading Practices in the Software, Hosting and Antivirus Business: GoDaddy, McAfee, Symantec and Microsoft

Viewing Documents in Google Docs with http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=

One merely takes the URL
http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=
AND THEN ADDS TO THAT
the URL of the document to be viewed.
Here is an example of viewing a document in Google Docs that I had on my hard disk as both a .pdf and .doc file and which I then uploaded by FTP to my lawpundit.com web presence. The following links allow that document to be viewed either as a .doc or .pdf file in Google Docs (lots of text and graphics to see how well this works):

http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.lawpundit.com/blog/PhaistosDiskLondonSpeechRevised12January2009.pdf

http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.lawpundit.com/blog/PhaistosDiskLondonSpeechRevised12January2009b.doc

The Phaistos Disc: An Ancient Enigma Solved: Two corroborative Old Elamite scripts can be deciphered using the Greek syllabic values obtained for the Phaistos Disc by A. Kaulins in 1980 [Version 1.1, amended 3 January 2009, adding Appendix 5]
(a paper I presented in London in October 2008 and then revised in January 2009)

The above paper was the basis for the Ancient Script Concordance which I just published online at: LexiLine, Ancient World Blog, and Lingwhizt (each serving as mirrors for the other).

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