Lucky Girl!

I'm not the lucky girl in question, though I wish I was! Do you remember where I posted about this casting call for Sarah Richardson's new show, Sarah 101? Well, one of my dear readers read the post and applied for the show - and lo and behold she was selected!! So not only will this reader and her hubby have their dining room made over and get $10,000 worth of labour, fixtures, and furnishings, but she will get to hobnob with my absolute favourite designer & her sidekick Tommy.

Seriously, I'm so happy (and a tiny bit envious) of your good fortune. Maybe if I'm nice, dear reader will let me stand in the bushes outside and stalk the TV shoot ;)

Who Dat Trademark?

Dear Rich: Recently several small shops here in New Orleans, Louisiana have received cease and desist letters from the NFL regarding either the Fleur de Lis symbol or the Who Dat slogan and the Saints. This has been put on merchandise for years by local merchants and never been challenged before. Because we win now all of a sudden people are breaking the law? Do you know anything about this? Is it copyright infringement or trademark issue and which is it the Gold and Black Fleur de Lis or the words Who Dat? Can you explain this to me? I think with all that this city has gone through the NFL should be ashamed. The Dear Rich Staff is not sure whether NFL Enterprises LLC can feel shame. They're a limited liability corporation, not a person. Oh. wait a second, the Supreme Court reported this week that corporations are people, so maybe we're wrong. 
Anyway, as for your question ... This is a trademark issue and apparently it has been a hot topic in NOLA for the past few weeks. As everybody seems to acknowledge:  (1) the NFL has not registered the 'Who Dat,' mark (although several other companies and individuals are trying for registration or claim to own rights) and (2) the NFL/New Orleans Saints owns two fleur de lis design registrations (No. 3135839 and No. 3210572 -- shown above). Our research indicates that the C&D letters that are going out are for efforts that combine the two elements -  the phrase and fleur de lis. The basis for this claim would be that consumers are confused into believing that this merchandise is associated with the NFL. Certainly, the NFL would be hard pressed to pursue vendors selling only "Who Dat" merchandise. So far we haven't found any lawsuits and we assume some PR-savvy NOLA trademark attorneys will jump on the issue (as so many others have) should it head to court. In any case, for now it appears as if it's a Mexican standoff.
Must See Dept. As readers know the staff here doesn't care about football but we'll make an exception for the best football movie since Burt Reynolds scored in The Longest Yard. 

Reader's Question: Laurie's Bathrooms

Laurie, a reader in Ottawa, wrote to me seeking some design help. Here's her note:

We are in the process of completely renovating the second floor of our 5-year-old home. It's nothing fancy, fairly cookie cutter, but we did do some upgrades. The area I need help with is our bathroom mirrors/lighting. Do you have any a) good lighting/mirror suggestions and b) good stores to find possible solutions.

Bathroom A will be a kids bathroom once we start a family. It has white cabinets, white counter tops, white tub...lots of white with blue ceramic floors (almost looks like a sky) and funky blue and green accent tiles. We're painting the walls blue. We have one long vanity with double sinks so i was thinking of two white framed mirrors. Right now we have the standard HUGE builder mirror with the "hollywood lights"

Bathroom B is the spare room ensuite. Very similar to Bathroom A, but in greens. The walls will be a light green. I was also thinking of a basic white framed mirror in here too - or possibly something in silver, but our fixtures are in brushed nickel.

Finally, our master ensuite. This room has a bit more of an "earthy" feel and i'm going with a darker colour on the walls (SICO 6117-52 Rubens Autumn (walls) and 6117-21 Flemish Taupe (ceiling)) This is where i'm REALLY stumped. Our tiles are a light beige but i'd say more to a "peachy" tone as opposed to a "browny" tone. We were thinking of dark chocolate mirrors, but not sure this would go.

Let's take a look first at Bathroom A, the future kids bathroom:

To keep with the beachy look of the bathroom, white framed mirrors are definitely the way to go. But no need to get rid of the huge builder's mirror - simply frame over it! Check out how to do it on this great post over at Our Suburban Cottage. I would use the same size of 1x4 pieces of wood. This is a nice substantial width which will make your huge mirror seem less huge. Above the mirror, go for a simple contemporary light with a bit of a nautical feel like this one from Canadian Tire. The rounded shades work well with the round curves of the wall accent tiles, don't you think?

Another option is to go with individual oval mirrors centred over each sink, like these pivoting ones from Home Depot. However, since kids love to look at themselves in the mirror, I personally would prefer the large single mirror.

Onto the spare room ensuite:

Now this bathroom is a bit more problematic because of what looks to be an off-center sink. Usually, you could put a mirror centred above the sink but in this case that would leave a gap over the bank of drawers. For that reason, I would stick with a single large mirror like you have now. You could do a white framed mirror or one in a brushed silver frame. It could be more decorative since this is the ensuite in your spare/guest room. A great source for decorative mirrors with interesting frames is HomeSense.

And finally, the master ensuite:

Since this is the master bathroom, I'd go a bit more glamourous with it. This mirror from Pier1 would look great and add a bit of sparkle. Overhead, you could go with a light in a brushed nickel finish (to match your fixtures), though you could also do something in more of a bronze finish like this light from Home Depot, which works with the earthy brown paint tones.

You mentioned that you did like the "backlit mirror" look too though. If you're handy, here's a great DIY tutorial from Cityline on how to build your own! Hope these suggestions help, Laurie!

Have a your own decorating question? Drop me a line at

Will My Trademark Graduate to the Principal Register?

ear Rich: My mark has been registered on the Supplemental Register for five years and continuously used during that time. Does it now qualify automatically for registration on the Principal Register? "Automatically" may not be the correct word but you should be able to "graduate" to the Principal Register without much problem. 
Supplemental v. Principal Registers. As you probably know one distinction between the two Registers is that all marks on the Principal Register are considered to be distinctive. Some were born distinctive -- think 'Google' -- while other more descriptive marks-- think 'Lean Cuisine' -- acquired distinctiveness via marketing and continued use (known as "secondary meaning"). When you apply for registration on the Principal Register -- yes, you must apply -- the examiner starts with the presumption that after five years of continued, exclusive use, the mark has acquired secondary meaning and is distinctive. (In legal terms, the five years of use amount to prima facie proof.) However, the Dear Rich Staff notes that despite this presumption, a trademark examiner, if doubtful of your mark's strength, can always require additional proof of distinctiveness. If we were a betting blog, we'd bet that your mark will soon make it on to the Principal Register.

Need Rights to Music for Video

Dear Rich: I am in need of a document but dont know exactly which agreement/form will serve my need. I have a video that needs music put to it and I have found a freelancer to do it. So I need a transfer of rights doc to get him to sign before he works on it so that we can copyright it under our name without ever running into a legal issue. Does a patent, copyright, trademark need to be registered by the original artist before an assignment can be signed? Sorry, we can't answer your question until we finish downloading this album. Amazon is/was offering it for $5.99!!! No video needed for this masterpiece.
Your Question. Right. If someone is commissioned to create a contribution for an audiovisual work (a movie, video, etc.) then that would qualify as a work made for hire under copyright law. And if you want to list your company as the "author," you'll have that option under the work made for hire arrangement. Our employer (insert FTC disclaimer here) sells books that include work made for hire agreements. You can probably fashion one yourself as long as you include the following provision:
Contractor agrees that, for consideration that is acknowledged, any works of authorship commissioned pursuant to this Agreement (the "Works") shall be considered works made for hire as that term is defined under U.S. copyright law. To the extent that any such Work created for Company by Contractor is not a work made for hire belonging to Company, Contractor hereby assigns and transfers to Company all rights Contractor has or may acquire to all such Works. Contractor agrees to sign and deliver to Company, either during or subsequent to the term of this Agreement, such other documents as Company considers desirable to evidence the assignment of copyright.
You'll also need to add some other stuff like an assurance that the material isn't taken from somewhere else, information about payment and other typical contract stuff. The agreement should be signed before the work is completed.
Do you need to register a patent, copyright or trademark before assigning it? Just to be clear, we're only talking about copyrights. No registration is required for the work made for hire agreement or for an assignment of copyright. A registration isn't necessary for assigning a trademark, either. You would need to have acquired a patent before assigning it since patents (unlike copyrights and trademarks) don't exist until the government says, 'Okay!' You can, however, assign a patent application or the underlying technology rights. That's enough blah blah blah for today, the Dear Rich Staff has got to go get melancholy with Frank.

How Do I Copyright My Mobile App?

Dear Rich: How do we copyright an app and do we need a marketing firm to help us once it is developed? Are we locked into Apple once it is published or can we sell it elsewhere as well? Will you send me an answer here or do I have to look on your webpage for your response? We assume you're asking how to file a copyright application since as you should know from following the Dear Rich blog, you get a copyright automatically once you finish your app--even an alpha version. 
Form CO. (BTW, we explain the procedure for registering an app in our new mini manual for app developers.) To file an application, you first need to determine which elements of the app are your original authorship. For example, if you only contributed some text and software code, and you licensed the rest, then you would only claim copyright (and seek registration) for what you created. You indicate that information in Form CO -- the all purpose copyright application -- in the section under 'authorship.' Later, in Section 4A of the form you must list the items for which you are not claiming copyright. 
Pick Your Category. As with any copyright application you must establish what "category" of work you are registering. Most software programs are registered as 'literary works' - an anachronism dating back to the fact that source code is written in letters and numerals. However, if your app is primarily pictures, choose 'visual arts' work, and if it is a graphics-heavy product like a game, choose 'performing arts' work. Don't worry if your app seems to straddle two categories -- just pick the one that seems best.
Do You Need a Marketing Firm? The Dear Rich Staff doesn't know whether you should use a marketing firm. That's not our bailiwick. In any case it sounds expensive
Can You Sell it Elsewhere? We don't see anything in the iPhone Developer Agreement that prohibits your porting from one mobile OS to another. 
Will We Send You the Answer? No, we won't send you the answer so if you were hoping for an email response, it's going to get very Godot-ish waiting by your inbox. Sometimes, if we're not  overwhelmed with managing our Netflix queue, scrutinizing credit card statements (Did we Skype to Czechoslovakia?), and monitoring our TransLink card, we do write back to people

Good Ideas

Sorry for the lack of posts around here. It was a busy week. HandyMan and I were preparing for our PechaKucha at the Interior Design Show. I'm happy to report it was a great success (though one presenter had a bit of a 'colourful' vocabulary so we may have to institute a 3 second time delay with next year's event!).

The theme was "Good Ideas" and we had a fantastic and diverse group of presenters including, him, him, and her. He was our Master of Ceremonies. What they had to say was truly inspiring and I love hearing folks talk passionately about what they do! I can't wait until the next event.

Work continues on the bedroom. Drywall is up (yay!) but nothing much else post-worthy, so I'll leave you with pics of good ideas I like. Click the text to see image source.

Sliding barn doors

Patterned Kitchen Floors

Banquette seats and bistro tables

A collection of vintage prints

Daybeds in the living room

Beadboard ceilings

What are some good ideas that you love?

read me

i need to replace my reading glasses...

with these!

Software Sales, Seller's Permits, and Sales tax

Dear Rich: I sell my apps exclusively through the Apple App Store and I'm planning to branch out and sell another program as a downloadable for Mac. Do I have to get a seller's permit and collect sales tax? You won't need a seller's permit for the App Store; you may need it for downloadable software. Read on (and check out our new app developer's guide.)
What's a Seller's Permit? A seller's permit, also called a 'resale permit,' authorizes you to make sales and collect sales tax from customers within your state. Since Apple is selling the apps to consumers, they would be responsible for collecting the sales tax if it were due. It's a different story if you are (a) selling downloads directly, (b) selling your apps on media devices such as CDs, or (c) you are selling application services. 
State Sales Tax Rules. In most states that collect sales tax, it's for tangible goods--items you can touch, such as jewelry, CDs, clothing, or food. Downloadable software and media has traditionally been off limits for sales tax. However, that may be changing as states have begun to realize the large tax revenues that are being lost. Reportedly, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia now tax media downloads. Some of these states, like Kentucky and Washington, distinguish amongst downloaded materials - for example, taxing downloaded movies, music and eBooks, but not taxing downloadable software. The distinction apparently hinges on whether the download is traditional media or whether it's designed to perform a task--for example to clean up your registry. 
California Rules. One example is the California's sales tax rules (Regulation 1502) that state that:
"The sale or lease of a prewritten program is not a taxable transaction if the program is transferred by remote telecommunications from the seller's place of business, to or through the purchaser's computer and the purchaser does not obtain possession of any tangible personal property, such as storage media, in the transaction." 
In other words, without a physical object being transferred, no tax is due. On the other hand, if you convert your apps for sale as disk-based software, or you sell a guidebook to accompany your apps, that direct sale would be subject to sales tax because it involves physical goods. 
And if that weren't enough ... Also, a few states also tax services, so if you render application services you may have to collect tax on your invoices. (For example, all services are subject to sales tax in Hawaii, New Mexico and South Dakota.) The bottom line is that every state's list of exempt transactions is different, and states have different rules about when and how you must submit the tax. If you're caught doing business without a permit, you could be subject to a number of penalties--such as having to pay the sales tax you should have collected from your customers, along with a fine. You can find information on seller's permit requirements at the website of your state's tax agency. For a list of links to these agencies, go to the IRS website, choose "Business," then "Small Business/Self-Employed," then "State Links." Or, choose your state's link at the list of tax agencies provided at the website of the federal Small Business Administration. By the way, if you do have to pay sales taxes, there are, of course, several helpful iPhone apps for calculating it.
Whew ... was that long enough?  The Dear Rich Staff is exhausted!
Oh ... the movie. It's our favorite movie about a tax auditor?

Can Husband and Wife Developers Be a Sole Proprietorship?

It's AppDev Week!! 
Dear Rich: My wife and I create applications together. Do we have to file a partnership tax return or can we file as a sole proprietorship? Whoa! The Dear Rich Staff usually doesn't do tax questions but since this is AppDev week here goes ...  (and check out our new app developer's guide.)
One Approach. According to this IRS directive, spouses that co-own and run a  business in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) can operate as a sole proprietorship (or "disregarded entity") and report their business income as part of their joint tax return (which has several obvious benefits) or they can operate as a partnership and file a K-1 partnership return. Couples in non-community property states, see below.
And here's another IRS bulletin. According to this IRS directive, if spouses co-own and run a business in a non-community property state, they must operate as a partnership and file a K-1 partnership return (unless they choose to be treated as a "qualified joint venture.") In all states, if one spouse owns the business and the other works for it, the business is a sole proprietorship, and the owner will have to declare the spouse as an employee or independent contractor. If the spouse occasionally volunteers to help the business without pay, you won't have to declare the spouse as an employee or independent contractor. 
Spousal Inspiration. By the way, did you know one of the biggest software companies was founded by husband and wife nerds. Some other couples we love who created stuff together -- Roy Rogers &  Dale EvansJohn Cassavetes & Gena RowlandsLouis Prima & Keely Smith, Ashford & SimpsonCharles & Ray Eames, and Masters & Johnson.

What's My Liability for Errors in My App?

Dear Rich: I've created an app that uses mass transit timetables. Since people rely on these to get to work and things like that I'm a little concerned about whether I will run into problems if there are errors in my app? What's the story on that? If an app provides incorrect information the developer is not likely to be liable to the consumer --- at least not under typical product liability theories. Although there haven't been any cases involving apps, we can analogize to the publishing industry, For example in one case, a book identified poisonous mushrooms as being safe to eat; in another case a map provided incorrect directions; in another case, a person was injured as a result of incorrect published information about enema procedures; and in another case, a woman became pregnant despite following published contraception procedures. In all of these cases, the producers of the information were not liable to the consumer. That's because published information is not considered a "product" for liability purposes. In addition, Apple's Terms of Service make it difficult for a disgruntled commuter to seek redress ("YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SERVICE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK.") That is not to say you can't be sued over these issues. It just means that you're unlikely to be liable for damages. Of course having incorrect information will torpedo your App Store ratings and your company's credibility (and check out our new app developer's guide).

Apps We Love Dept. The Dear Rich Staff hasn't located any incorrect information in our favorite mass transit app -- iBart -- which lets us know whether we should sprint from the Ferry Building to Embarcadero station. Well ... it used to let us know. One of our New Year's Resolutions is to never again (no,no) run for a bus (or Bay Area Rapid Transit).

Can I Break My Noncompete?

Dear Rich: I'm quitting my job as an SQL developer to strike out on my own doing mobile apps for the Android. The software I did for my employer doesn't have anything to do with the apps I'm working on. A lot of my apps are variations on old arcade games. Do I need to be concerned if I signed a noncompete agreement with my employer? We couldn't say without reading your agreement and knowing which state's law applies. (These states restrict or prohibit noncompetes -- Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Texas). Under a standard noncompete you agree not to compete with your former employer for a period of time. If your mobile app business is competitive -- more information needed -- you may be in violation of the noncompete. Here's how some  people fight it. 
Why Skee Ball? The Dear Rich Staff hasn't bought this app yet, but we look at it longingly. What's holding us back is the disconnect between the memory of skee ball on the Long Beach boardwalk and the idea that we're experiencing something similar flicking our finger. We'll figure it out.

Lexus LF-Ch: Production Version of Five-Door Hatchback Rival to BMW 1-Series Scooped!

An anonymous julino billym reader dropped these scoop photos of what appears to be the production version of the Lexus LF-Ch hatch into our mailbox this morning. The LF-Ch concept model made its world debut at last year's Frankfurt motor show with Lexus making it more than clear that it would build the five-door hatchback.

"Let me stress that you are not looking at a market study … or hearing about vague intentions" Andy Pfeiffenberger, vice president of Lexus Europe, told journalists during the presentation of the car in Frankfurt.

"This LF-Ch concept is a clear indication of our entry plans for the compact premium segment in the near future, with the world's first ever premium compact, full hybrid."

The overall shape of the plastic wrapped model depicted in these spy photos is almost identical to the LF-Ch concept right down to the rear window, though the design does appear to have been toned down a notch.

For example, gone are the 'hidden' read door handles that have been replaced by conventional handles while the tail lights and rear bumper design are new.

If the car pictured here is indeed the LF-Ch, then there's a strong possibility that we may see the hatchback model in the flesh at the Geneva Salon next March.

Lexus plans to offer the premium hatch that will rival cars like the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 with both conventional and hybrid powertrains.

Hat tip to our anonymous reader for the shots!

2010 Tokyo Auto Salon Overview and Mega Gallery with 140 High-Res Photos

What is without a doubt one of the top three tuning shows on the planet (along with SEMA in Las Vegas and the Essen Motor Show in Germany), Tokyo's annual Auto Salon is always home to a variety of vehicles ranging from old-skool kewl to what can only be described as high-speed haute couture, crafted by everyone from students to tuning shops to manufacturers.

This year, while the vehicles were far from ordinary, everything seemed a bit on the diminished side.

There was one less hall than last year, a fair number of repeat offenders (like RE-Amemiya's repainted Genki 7), and while rumors have it Smoky Nagata was lurking around, Top Secret didn't even bother showing up. Damn the economy.

Bottom line: this year was just as fun as last year, if not as mind-bogglingly massive. Oh, and speaking of offenders, one type of attendee from last year that definitely had an increased presence was the number of "special ticket"-wielding perverts out to get their upskirt videos and nip-slip pics. Ah, Japan. By Phil Alex

Tokyo Auto Salon Photos: Phil Alex with the help of friends Mike and Aaron

2010 Porsche Panamera - julino billym

Phil Alex was born in Rhode Island in 1985. He graduated with degrees in Finance and German from Wofford College in 2007 and has had an obsession with cars and travel. Currently he resides near Japan's international airport in Narita. He makes no apologies for his articles and welcomes all feedback, as long as it is adamantly worded. If for any reason you are inclined to vent some more, check out more of his posts on the Examiner here.