International Sales News - As Seen on TV Products

International news, issues, and trends for innovative consumer products in the direct response television industry (DRTV), as well as tips for export management & international product sales. This blog focuses on the As Seen on TV product category.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Protect your Intellectual Property Rights

When trading products internationally today it is essentially to understand your product's intellectual property rights and how to protect them. Intellectual property is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as "creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce." With the rapid growth of technology it has become increasingly easier for people to imitate and sell a product or trademark illegally. Furthermore, because of the international inequities in terms of protection and laws established in various countries regarding intellectual property rights, it is often difficult to protect those rights across international borders. However, there are three main manners of protection available for your intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks and copyrights.
  1. Patent - Gives an owner exclusive rights over an invention
  2. Trademark - Basically a brand name: a word, symbol, name or device that identifies the source of goods.
  3. Copyright - Protection for works of authorship
These are all available to obtain in the US but only offer any protection inside the US. To protect your intellectual property rights abroad you must obtain patent rights in each individual country. Visit WIPO's Guide to Intellectual Property Worldwide, for more information on different countries' requirements on obtaining property rights.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Increased Financing for Guatemalan Buyers of US Goods and Services

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has granted a $10.6 million credit facility to Bantrab (Banco de Los Trabajadores) a private, worker-owned Guatemalan financial institution. The credit facility is guaranteed by the US Export-Import Bank, and its purpose is to increase financing to the 800,000 shareholders of and corporate clients of Bantrab, to foster increased business between US companies and Guatemalan buyers.

The US Export-Import Bank finances the sale of US exports especially in developing countries, such as in Central America, by guaranteeing loans, providing export-credit insurance, as well as direct loans. All with the purpose of creating and sustaining US jobs.

Much of the money will be directed to Guatemalan customers who are in need to financing to purchase US goods they desire. It is hoped that the $10.6 million will increase the demand of US goods and services in Guatemala and provide a means to satisfy that demand.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

International Sales Boost Earnings for Wal Mart

During times of economic hardship including increasing costs of food and fuel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has still managed to increase earnings and even surmount first-quarter earnings predictions. Wal-Mart is attributing this to a 22% increase in the company's international sales. Net sales jumped from $85.4 billion last year to $94.1 billion. (Wal-Mart Earnings Report)

Revenue from the United States based company's international stores is continually growing and becoming a larger piece of Wal-Mart's total revenue. Currently international revenues make up a quarter of the firm's total revenues.

While not every company can realistically hope to become as large a business as Wal-Mart, they should take note at the importance of expanding their businesses globally. Especially when markets such as the US are experiencing slowdowns in sales, many US companies may be able to look to outside markets to continue increasing sales.

Source: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Earnings Report

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

US Ranks 15th in Terms of Broadband Access

This year US has been ranked 15th when compared to other countries in terms of broadband access, speed and price. This may come as surprising to many who think of the US as a world leader in technology. However, over the past seven years the US has fallen in this ranking every single year. The ranking is part of a report released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation exploring broadband leadership throughout the world.

So why is the US, a country so rich in resources falling behind when compared to other nations in broadband quality and accessibility? It seems that the country is divided between two differing points of view on how to handle the issue. On one side there exists a large number of so-called "market fundamentalists" who believe the broadband market in the US should be left alone, with little or no role to be played by the government. The other side is composed of those who believe the large corporations that own the broadband companies are fostering this problem and an increase in the government's role (such as more and stricter regulations and even government ownership) is necessary to ensure growth and competition in this sector of the economy.

Source: "Explaining International Broadband Leadership". ITIF, May 2008.

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