IPOs for Patents?

According to the CNN.com article, “The first financial exchange to sell patent-licensing rights, poised to launch early next year, is being greeted by both optimism and concern.” The concept is intriguing, especially considering that the costs associated with prosecuting, maintaining and enforcing patents can be as much as starting some companies.

Link to the story.

Hat Tip to Zies, Widerman, Malek for posting a link to this story on Twitter.

The 10 Worst Holiday Business Gifts

I came across this great bit of advice from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and thought I would share.
I didn’t think it needed to be said that rotten food is a bad gift, but apparently it did since that made number 9 on the list.

Link to the slide show

Local branding or borrowing trade dress?

See this story from the SeattlePI.com.

This is a little bit of old news by now, but apparently Starbucks has been “localizing” its stores by minimizing the Starbucks branding an giving them an independent coffee shop look and feel. I have heard some people say that this is proof that Starbuck’s brand is toast, but I don’t think so. Its not uncommon for large businesses to diversify their products and sell them under different brands. Aldi and Trader Joe’s are the same company with different brands that reflect different portions of the grocery market.

Trade dress is the overall “look and feel” of a business. I can’t tell from the pictures, but if Starbucks did in fact copy the trade dress of another local store they could be in trademark trouble. The look and feel of a business can be protected as trade dress. See for example this classic case between two rival taco restaurants, Taco Cabana and Two Pesos. Anything that identifies your business, and your business alone can be protected because customers will come to associate that thing with your business. Names and logos are most popular, but trade dress counts as well.