Technology and Business Law Blog

India Seeking New Currency Logo

Branding is the key to marketing, and marketing is essential to promote anything. India sure is in the process of promoting itself. With the ruling party winning in the national elections, India will continue to attract foreign investment and continue on it’s path to being a economic power house.

India is definitely looking to market itself, it already has in the area of tourism and now it wants to distinguish its currency and create a brand which will be instantly recognized world wide. The current rupee does not have a symbol like the dollar sign or the pound sign and so India is on the lookout for a currency mark of it’s own. This branding and the new logo will be a symbol of India’s prominence in the world economy. To enable this there is design competition being held and the participants are awarded a prize. “This is a big brand-building exercise,” said Rajesh Jain, vice president at SMC Global Securities, a large brokerage firm in New Delhi. “When it gets a sign, the Indian rupee will aggressively declare to the world, ‘I have arrived.’ “

Some of India’s neighboring countries also use the term rupee to denote their currency, so the question then to ponder on is– will the rupee logo that India adopts be used by these neighboring countries too? If used then the branding exercise will become meaningless.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Patenting India’s Culture and Way of Life

The Western world has repeatedly tried to patent India way of live. I was watching this video http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=KSwhpF9iJSs on Youtube called “Super Brain Yoga” and found it hilarious. While growing up in India, I used to every morning and evening do these sit ups crossing my arms and holding my ears. All people from South India follow this custom as part of their salutations to Lord Ganesa (the remover of obstacles).
Even in school and at homes to discipline children they are asked to do this “Super brain Yoga” and now the West it discovering it and actually spending dollars to research it.Wow! amazing!!
Most things that people take for granted in India and which is a part of the culture,  handed down through generations as home remedies and way of life, is being commercialized and patented in the Western world. Here is a great article on some of the things being patented, like the yoga sequences which are about 5000 years old http://www.sarkaritel.com/news_and_features/infa/december2008/31race_for_patents.htm  and the vast number of herbs, fruits and vegetables that are commonly used in every Indian home as remedies for simple colds to arthritis pain and in ayurvedic medicine system to even cure cancer and aids. http://be-d-change.blogspot.com/2008/06/india-fights-united-states.html
Indians lack the finesse and skills to market their culture and way of life and take it for granted, whereas to the Western world it is all so “new” and “awesome” that they want to profit from it. Whatever the reason, India needs to wake up and take charge and pro actively protect its deep knowledge bases and educate the rest of the world about it.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 4 Comments

OMG, NO TV!!

There is so much noise about delaying the switch to digital broadcasts from analog transmission, and the FCC has said that it would not allow 123 stations to switch on Feb. 17 as originally scheduled. Congress postponed the deadline last week to June 12, citing concerns that many people were unprepared for the move to digital. FCC said it reserved the right to prevent stations from switching if it posed a public safety threat to particular markets since people who received digital signals on analog televisions would lose access to important public safety information and local news alerts.

For years people have been told that on such and such date there will no longer be analog transmission but still, people are not ready. To know about the difference between analog and digital, read here.

Basically, people are so addicted to watching TV that they cannot imagine a few days without sitting in front of the tube, that is the only disaster, that would happen in their lives, and not really any “important public safety information or local news alerts”. There are other media and channels through which these can be received. I basically never watch TV, I feel that if it is important enough, I will find out about it anyway.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Googling Government Web sites

I will let you decide whether Google is being altruistic or is it just another means to an end of creating more revenue through advertisement dollars.

Google is pushing for government web sites to be accessible to search engines crawlers, so that when someone types in a query in the Google search bar, the information available in government sites will show up readily instead of having to go to the actual government site to access the required information.  Read here.

Google claims that it doesn’t want to disappoint its users and wants to provide service and be the best search engine out there, but other feel that the bottom line motivation is profit generation.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 12 Comments

Privacy Rights of Celebrities and Others

When it comes to publicity and privacy rights it can be a fine dividing line. Madonna the famous singer has won a case against the U.K tabloid the Mail for publishing her wedding pictures.  Madonna is a celebrity and as such does not normally have privacy rights to her pictures that were taken by someone even without her permission.  This statement would have been true if the pictures were taken when she was in a public place, but the fact that the wedding was an private affair where no pictures were taken and the ones taken were by a photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino and they were presented to Madonna as a gift. These pictures were never published and were kept in her house away from the eyes of the public.

Even celebrities have a right to privacy and in terms of the copyrights on the photographs, if Madonna had hired the photographer then she would own the copyrights to them even if the photographer chose not charge for them and gifted them to Madonna, but if the photographer on his own accord took the photos and then gave them to Madonna as a gift then he will still own the copyrights to the photographs.

Another privacy issue is the searching of digital devices like cell phones and laptops at the U.S borders when one enters the country. Objecting to this practice, civil rights groups have filed cases, claiming racial profiling, invasion of privacy and unreasonable search and seizer without probable cause.  Now a handful of bills have been introduced that could pass next year.

One measure, sponsored by Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., chairman of the Constitution subcommittee, would require reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to search the contents of electronic devices carried by U.S. citizens and legal residents. It would also require probable cause and a warrant or court order to detain a device for more than 24 hours. And it would prohibit profiling of travelers based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is sponsoring a bill in the House that would also require suspicion to inspect electronic devices. Engel said he is not trying to impede legitimate searches to protect national security. But, he said, it is just as important to protect civil liberties. Read here.

This in my opinion is good since, under the Bush Adminstration, under the Patriot Act, laws were streatched and many of our constitutional rights were under seige. Hopefully, under the new  adminstration there will be more of a balance and ordinary people will not be harrassed just because there have different sounding last names or because they look different.

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Steps to Set Up a Nonprofit Corporation in California

Here are the basic steps that need to be followed in the case of a nonprofit, assuming that the organization does not have any assets, is not leasing any property and that you don’t receive more than $25,000 in gross receipts in a year.

1. Reserve name for the nonprofit corporation with the Secretary of State and after receiving the reserved name need to file the articles within 60 days, otherwise need to send in another application to reserve the name.

2. File the articles (4 copies) for the nonprofit corporation along with a cover letter and check of $30.00 (filing fee) to the Secretary of State in Sacramento. Need to make four copies of the typed articles (3 for filing and 1 for the records of the organization). The person who reserved the name for the corporation must sign the cover letter.

3. Even before actually filing the articles with the Secretary of State it is a good idea to have the State and Federal tax exemption forms ready to see if the organization will qualify for nonprofit status. Have an accountant do this, the tax aspects for nonprofits are pretty challenging and very important. Also, before filing these forms with the State and Federal tax authorities the nonprofit corporation has to be formed (which means that the articles has to be filed, certified and sent back by the Secretary of State).

4. After the certified articles are received, one of the certified copies must be sent by the nonprofit organization to the Franchise Tax board along with the state tax exemption form (form 3500), the second to the IRS with the federal tax exemption form (form 1023)*** and the third certified copy will be forwarded by the California Secretary of state to the Attorney General, Registry of Charitable Trusts, who will get back to the nonprofit organization with additional forms to be filled. See # 9 below.

Also make additional copies of these certified articles to be used for filing with the post office to get a nonprofit mailing permit and for other later needs.

5. Prepare the Bylaws. Non-membership corporations are simpler to operate and establish. Opt for a non-membership corporation run by a board of directors and the number of directors has be more than two but less than five people.

6. Set up a corporate records book, a corporate kit might not be needed if membership certificates are not being issued.

7. Prepare the Minutes of the First Board of Directors Meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to transact the initial business of electing officers, fixing the legal address of the corporation etc. It could be a paper meeting.

8. File the Domestic Corporation Statement (form SI-200). The form will request basic organizational information. The initial agent designated in the articles of incorporation is the agent for the service of process. This form must be filled out and sent back to the Secretary of State within 90 days of the date the articles are filed.

9. After the Secretary of State forwards a copy of the articles to the attorney general, the attorney general will send a initial report form (Form CT-1) to complete and file, and an annual reporting form (RRF-1) to complete and file for the second and subsequent years of the corporation.

*** The tricky part of forming a nonprofit corporation is the tax aspects of it, and one of the main reasons to form such an organization is to avail of the tax benefits. It is very important to consult with an accountant who is well versed in the taxation aspects of nonprofit corporations to check as to the various forms that need to be filled, the requirements in the forms, the deadlines, if and how the organization can qualify. There are also tax forms that need to be filled after the corporation is formed like IRS Form 990-EZ or Form 990-T.

It is important that the tax authorities do not classify the organization as a nonprofit private foundation, in which case the corporation might need to be dissolved immediate

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 19 Comments

Oh Harry Potter/ Hari Puttur!

There we go again, this time Warner Bros is filing a suit against the release of the Bollywood film “Hari Puttur” because when pronounced in American or British English accent it sounds like “Harry Potter”. This is so ridiculous and shows clear ignorance, intolerance and unwillingnessto open up to different languages and cultures of the world.

‘Hari’ is a very common name in India and means God, and in Punjabi puttur means son, so “Hari puttur” could mean either the son of God or the son of a man named Hari. When said with an Indian or Punjabi accent it no way sounds like “Harry Potter”. Please Warner Bros don’t exhibit your ignorance, intolerance and desperation by filing legal suits in India, they will be thrown out. The movie Hari Puttur doesn’t have anything common to the movie “Harry Potter”.  J.K. Rowling should spend her time writing books and not filing law suits all over the world. She has a law suit in the U.S. which is defended by the Stanford law school ‘Fair Use’ project.

Last year there was another law suit filed in India stating that the pandal or structure for a Durga puja celebration was similar to the Hogwarts building in the film Harry Potter, but the courts in India dismissed the law suit.

August 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Recent IP and Technoloy Law Happenings

Here are some interesting recent happenings both in the U.S. and in India on IP and technology law.

The litigation that was on for a while and made interesting reading is the battle between the fashion icons Barbie v. Bratz and the more long standing and mature co ntender Barbie wins $100 million in a copyright infringement law suit. The side issue in the matter was breach of contract because Mattel the maker of Barbie filed a law suit against MGA Entertainment the maker of Bratz stating that the design for Bratz was taken from Barbie while the designer worked with Mattel.

Now, the greatest cyber criminal in the world is an Indian and has allegedly helped a criminal gang steal identities of an estimated eight million people in a hacking raid that could ultimately net more than 2.8 billion pounds in illegal funds.

More on cyber crimes, malicious software, the worm, called Koobface, turns compromised computers into “zombie” machines that can be used in other types of online attacks.

In India, criminal proceeding against eBay India under section 85 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for an alleged sale of an obscene video clip showing two Delhi students was halted by the Supreme Court.

What do “hacktivists” do? They scrutinize a new weapon of international warfare: cyber attacks.

The Indian government has drafted new company law. The law permits to recognize e-mail as a valid piece of evidence. Also the government at various levels are trying to harmonize related legislations like Information Technology Act and Evidence Act on the subject, so as to avoid regulatory overlaps. Even as the company law awaits amendments to this effect, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) feels corporate e-mails could be crucial evidence in cartel investigations.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Surveillance and the Warrantless Wiretapping Bill

President Bush after signing the surveillance and the warrantless wiretapping bill, said the bill gives the government anti-terror tools it needs without compromising Americans’ civil liberties.

I don’t understand how the bill does not compromises Americans’ civil liberties. In fact it has shut the door on any possibilities for civil liberties that are so fundamental in the Constitution. It is just a political game to which the Democrats have succumbed. I am real disappointed that Obama for all that he said that he was against the war on Iraq and was going to CHANGE things in Washington, voted for the bill and just joined forces with Washington.

ACLU’s has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several civil rights groups. It wants a federal judge in New York to rule that the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech and the right against unlawful search and seizure. It also asks that the judge permanently block intelligence officials from conducting surveillance under the law.

“The new law gives the government the power to conduct dragnet surveillance that has no connection to terrorism or criminal activity of any kind,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in a conference call to reporters.

I hope the court decides that the bill is unconstitutional and preserves the sanctity of the judicial process just as the Supreme Court decided that holding the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without a trial was unconstitutional and that the prisoners had a right to a civil trial.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Law on Claiming Lottery Prize Money

If you buy a lottery ticket keep it safe and most importantly if you are the winner of millions of dollars, make sure that you don’t lose the ticket till you claim the prize money. According to the law anyone who brings in the actual ticket will be declared the winner, or you will have to wait for a year and if no one else brings in the actual ticket then you will be awarded the prize money. So if are the winner and lose your ticket and someone else finds it then they are the winner.

Here is an very interesting story about an immigrant who won a lottery for about 70 million, lost the ticket and had to wait for a year holding his breath hoping that nobody else finds the ticket and claims the money. Well nobody else claimed the money and so he was declared the winner after a year!

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment