Female-secured Patents Could Boost Economy by $1 trillion

Small businesses and startup entrepreneurs are known to rely on funding from government agencies like the Small Business Administration; minority-owned businesses might turn to the Minority Business Development Agency. Kathi Vidal is pushing to have entrepreneurs consider applying for patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office alongside their application(s) for funding.

Vidal, who is currently serving as USPTO director, is an experienced intellectual property lawyer. A primary platform of her work in the USPTO, since her appointment by President Biden in April 2022, has been the diversification of those applying for and receiving patents. To date, only 13% of U.S. patents have been issued to women. When offered free legal guidance for the patent-application process, women-led filings increased by 41%. Vidal believes that the inclusion of women in the patenting system at equal rates as men could boost the U.S. economy by as much as $1 trillion.

According to Vidal, legal support is not the only barrier to female inclusion. The patenting system is inherently confusing and excluding. While the government views rejections as an opportunity for re-application, most applicants don’t understand. Vidal is introducing a cover letter to patent decisions, assigning an examiner who will be available for consultations and be the human face of an otherwise amorphous and overwhelming process.

Patents are a tangible way of supporting the economy and expanding business competition, particularly in growing fields like artificial intelligence and technologies. Similarly, Vidal explains that patents facilitate partnership and cooperation. Without patents, companies are resistant to sharing their ideas.

Remote Workers Resign to a Renters Crisis

Pandemic restrictions are lifting and most bosses and companies are accepting that remote work is here to stay. And as employees continue to enjoy the benefits of working from home, they are also looking for homes to work in. The rental market is fierce these days, with prime interest in Florida and across the Northeast region of the U.S.

A review of recent real estate data released in June by RentCafe, a subdivision of Yardi real estate software, indicates that Miami-Dade County, with its 20+ miles of beaches, had the most competitive rental market during the first third of 2022. Orlando and other parts of Southwest Florida are also in the top-ten list of cities, as are Harrisburg, Pa., North and Central Jersey, Grand Rapids, Mich., Rochester, N.Y., and Milwaukee.

What these cities all have in common is their excellent school systems, tranquil lifestyles, and family-friendly communities. The demand for rental properties is driven by high housing prices that have not budged in years and climbing mortgage rates prompting buyers to delay their purchase and seek a rental lease. While some cities are accommodating the increased demand, like Miami-Dade County where additional units were released to the rental market, other cities are not as quick to meet the need: Harrisburg, PA did not add any new apartments in the last four-month period, causing most tenants to renew their leases instead of moving out.

Chattanooga: the newest Hub of Tech, VC talent

Chattanooga at night

Chattanooga, Tennessee is one of the first American cities to have installed fiber optic cables with gigabit speeds across the entire city. While this upgrade was completed a little over 10 years ago, Mayor Tim Kelly says the pandemic brought a surge of new residents all looking for comfortable remote working spaces and quality of life.

Kelly, himself a former businessman and startup founder, credited the 2010 EPB investment in fiber optics as a forward-thinking move by previous leaders. He notes that while Chattanooga doesn’t offer financial incentives for relocation like other places, it does cultivate a vibrant cultural life and family-friendly ethos.

As a result- and specifically since the pandemic- Chattanooga has seen a new balance of tech companies and those working for them; once concentrated in major coastal cities, firms are now widely dispersed in more rural areas across the country. The Brookings Institution found that tech jobs in San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles had slowed or disappeared, while regions like St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Nashville showed an unprecedented uptick.

Brickyard, for example, is a newly established venture fund based in Chattanooga. Cameron Doody, the co-founder, explains that as workers from traditional tech hubs swamped cities like Atlanta and Austin, residents of those cities moved to places like Chattanooga for quiet, comfort, and quality of life. Brickyard invests in international tech companies. The founders then come to headquarters in Chattanooga to rigorously expand their product and enjoy the benefits of amenities like a sauna, a gym, and a steam room.

Kevin Ulrich is Anchorage’s New Chairman

Kevin Ulrich has served as CEO of Anchorage Capital Group for two decades. In recent months, the co-founder of the hedge fund declared he will be stepping down from his day-to-day duties as CEO and becoming chairman. Simultaneously, Ulrich announced Anchorage would be closing its flagship fund.

Kevin Ulrich, Chairman of Anchorage Capital Group
Kevin Ulrich, Chairman of Anchorage Capital Group

Once considered one of the largest distressed-debt funds worldwide, Anchorage is unwinding its $7.4 billion fund which managed almost double that amount just a few years ago. The firm will concentrate on its $18 billion structured-credit business and its $4 billion private-equity-style fund.

Citing uncooperative markets and client withdrawals as the primary catalysts for the closure, Kevin Ulrich further explained to clients that current credit markets “present challenges for an evergreen fund designed to tactically allocate capital across the credit spectrum.” Ulrich plans to manage the unwinding of the hedge fund while working together with the firm’s executives to map out plans for its future.

Anchorage is one of the most distinguished and biggest hedge funds to have closed in 2021.

Google Buys Mandiant

Global tech giant Google has announced its acquisition of Mandiant, the cybersecurity company. In a $5.4 billion deal, Google will expand its services to provide businesses with strategic planning assistance for and in response to cyberattacks.

Google Mandiant

The purchase comes as Google tries to distinguish itself and its cloud computing platforms from those offered by Amazon and Microsoft.

Organizations around the world are facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges as the sophistication and severity of attacks that were previously used to target major governments are now being used to target companies in every industry.

Thomas Kurian, chief executive of Google Cloud

Based in Virginia, Mandiant has over 2,300 employees, making it Google’s second-biggest purchase ever. The biggest was Google’s 2011 buy of Motorola for $12.5 billion.

Using US-Made Products

In an effort to move over to more American-created goods and products, President Biden put out an order requesting his staff to “review critical supply chains with the aim of bolstering American manufacturing of semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and other cutting-edge technologies.”  The goal is to reduce the US’s reliance on imported materials, the creation of well-paid jobs in America and strengthening the economy especially when faced with pandemics, geo-political threats and climate change.

In a discussion Biden had with Congress members, Michael Thomas McCaul said:

“China is looking at investing $1 trillion in their digital economy. If we’re going to be competitive, we have to incentivize these companies to manufacture these advanced chips in the United States.”

Further, together with 16 Republican governors, Gov. Spencer Cox wrote a letter to the President asking for a withdrawal of Executive Order 14008 (“Order”), issued on January 27, 2021. This order will ban the development of new oil and gas on offshore waters and federal land.  It said:

“There are many parts of our country where energy is more than a utility bill or tank of gas—it’s a job  creating industry that provides good careers and steady paychecks to families in rural areas and small towns.  Where the recent surge in oil and natural gas provided jobs and created wealth when we needed it most, the  Order will drastically hinder the ability of the oil and gas industry to recover, both onshore and offshore, as  the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic subside. In particular, the Order has a negative economic effect  upon western states with large tracts of federal land and upon Gulf Coast states, chasing away capital  investment for long-term economic growth and undermining public services, public conservation, public  safety, public education, and more. Beyond directly impacted states, the Order is estimated to spike  American residential energy costs by $1.7 billion per year.”

Mozes Konig: Cyber Security Investments 101

Cybersecurity investments have grown substantially in the last decade. In the last few years, Mozes Konig of MVKonig Ltd. has been investing in this industry.  Konig – who a while back went through some issues with Interpol which he thereafter solved – has been following the updates on the increasing relevance of cybersecurity today and for the future.

It has been estimated that cybercrime costs the world economy more than $400bn each year.  While in 2013 approximately 3,000 US firms were estimated to have been the victim of cybercrime, according to the 2019 Official Annual Cybersecurity Jobs Report  for those looking for work, cybersecurity is a great place to start. Experts have anticipated that from 2013 to 2021, there will be a 350% growth in job vacancies in this industry.

“It’s a fascinating industry,” explained Mozes Konig.  “Every year you find IT firms responding to developments in the tech sector. With that comes new opportunities for cyber criminals to do their work.  Hence more cyber security is always needed.”

All of this can negatively impact a business’s growth if the necessary measures are not put in place. 

“In addition,” continued Konig, “given that people are using their devices more and more, there is naturally going to be a far greater exposure to cyber criminal invasion.  In fact, while it may seem that investing in cyber security is expensive, we have only experienced that not making the investment comes at a greater price.”

Business safety is crucial in every aspect but as society continues to become increasingly device-oriented, investing in cybersecurity is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Resilience of Small Businesses

What to do when a pandemic has lasted nearly a year and there is little sign of it ending any time soon?  How should struggling businesses act to stay afloat but within the guidelines?  Shockingly perhaps, there are many small firms that are rising to the challenge and showing incredible resilience during this time.

The businesses that are still open are finding new and innovative ways to keep businesses going.  All the while dealing with kids at home and other additional responsibilities.  A lot of eateries are now realizing that takeouts are the best option.  Dining areas have had to remain closed but people still want to enjoy “eating out.”  This way they can do so in a coronavirus-legitimate way and support local businesses.

Many companies have Googled “how much does SEO cost” and are finding ways to make themselves more readily searched online. Since the majority of people are spending far more time online now than ever before, it makes sense that businesses are trying to stay up to date so that people can search for them and find them more easily online.

Educational institutes are figuring out ways to teach online since they are not able to teach on campus right now. The advantage of that is that students are able to access more educational opportunities since distance is no longer an issue.

Fashion and clothing companies have adapted by making masks.  Some make masks to match outfits, others create comic masks and still others make headcoverings and masks to go together.  There is so much that can be done.

U.S. Treasuries Fall As Growth Increases

As U.S. growth increases, treasuries have fallen, according to recent data which revealed growth in both business equipment orders as well as home purchases. Meanwhile, Benchmark notes increased yesterday as concerns regarding the Eurozone heighten and reports revealed that U.S. consumer confidence has fallen.
“The Conference Board consumer confidence report is important, but the reaction was probably excessive,” said Alessandro Mercuri  of Lloyd Bank Corporate Markets in London. “We’ve had a streak of stronger data. If we have a softening of concerns in Europe, we might have a bear steepening in the U.S.”