Written by Les C. Cseh

Continued from page 1


By protection, I mean reducingrepparttar chance of someone counterfeiting or altering your checks, as well as reducing your liability when it occurs.

Be aware that is is impossible to prevent fraud. But you can significantly minimizerepparttar 119307 risk using a two-prong approach. It is critical that good procedures related to your check processing are put in place, and that you use a check that is difficult to counterfeit or alter (see sidebar).

* Reconcile your bank statement promptly. Now that bank statements are available online, you can do this as frequently as you feel is necessary for your situation. * Restrict access to your checkbook/check stock. Ensure that only trusted staff that need access have it. * Audit your checks. However, this can be difficult because often checks are removed fromrepparttar 119308 bottom or middle ofrepparttar 119309 book or stack. * Use a custom design. While this isn't an affordable option for many businesses, look into it. The next best thing is to ensure that your check supplier uses comprehensive security features. Remember though that a custom design is not a substitue for security features. * Advise your bank branches' officials ofrepparttar 119310 security features in your checks .. in person or in writing (and keep a copy ofrepparttar 119311 letter on file!). * If you issue a large number of checks, particularly with a low amount (eg. rebate checks), open a separate account and alertrepparttar 119312 bank staff of an upper limit for that account.


Don't take unnecessary chances. The more security you have through procedures and choice of check form,repparttar 119313 less likely that someone will tamper with your checks.

Les C. Cseh is the owner of ASAP Checks, Forms & Supplies, a check printer operating out of Alexandria Bay, NY and Perth Road, Ontario. He can be reached at and at 888-85-CHECK. In addition to a variety of secure checks, the ASAP web site ( offers a non-commercial section related to check processing issues called the MICR Repository.

The Beginning of the End of the Internet?

Written by Bill Platt

Continued from page 1

Martin Willcox, an IT Manager from Manchester, United Kingdom cut torepparttar chase:

"The McAfee case clearly demonstrates just how absurd and anti-competitiverepparttar 119306 notion of patenting software really is. Very little software is genuinely new or novel - in reality, most of us inrepparttar 119307 development community spend our lives either refining and extending ideas that go back years or porting those ideas to new technologies."

Martin Willcox's assessment ofrepparttar 119308 situation is right onrepparttar 119309 mark. Companies are now usingrepparttar 119310 Patent system to try and bury their competition.

Think about Amazon for a moment. Two months after Amazon received their Patent, they filed suit against --- their number one competitor. If BarnesandNoble had not been as strong as they were financially when this suit began,repparttar 119311 legal fees could have buried them! "This nonsense raisesrepparttar 119312 cost of doing business, since it takes years and costs $1 million or so to break these junk patents."

( Quoted from: )

What if BarnesandNoble had been a young upstart? Could they have survived if they had little cash and a million dollar legal bill? How many small companies could have afforded this attack? How many small companies could have survivedrepparttar 119313 litigation process even when they were inrepparttar 119314 right?

To obtain a patent under our system, an inventor must file an application describing and claimingrepparttar 119315 invention (which must be -- inrepparttar 119316 broadest sense ofrepparttar 119317 word -- new, non-obvious, and useful) withrepparttar 119318 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The PTO assignsrepparttar 119319 application to an examiner who conducts a search of existing inventions (known as "prior art") and then issues a patent if nothing fishy turns up.

Under this system, which was last modified in 1999,repparttar 119320 only real method for weeding outrepparttar 119321 bad patent is through costly litigation.

There are indications that there are actually several factors at play inrepparttar 119322 problems that exist within our Patent system:

* The PTO examiners are not givenrepparttar 119323 kinds of tools they need to complete their jobs as they would wish, as indicated by this story:

A September, 1999 letter fromrepparttar 119324 Patent Examiner's Union Chief torepparttar 119325 Patent Advisory Committee stated in part, "What examiners are asked to do, and what impact those directed activities will have onrepparttar 119326 quality of patents, are clearly matters of great concern...." PTO examiners are being pressured to solely use a system called WEST for their patent searches, an "information retrieval system with debilitating flaws; not only isrepparttar 119327 system frequently incapable of performing even simple word searches,repparttar 119328 results are often woefully incomplete and even inaccurate," and that "searches usingrepparttar 119329 new system take longer to perform, produce fewer results thanrepparttar 119330 systems that they replaced, and thus prevent us from doing our jobs."

(Source: Washington Post, November 19, 1999).

* The staff atrepparttar 119331 Patent and Trademark Office is understaffed and under prepared to meetrepparttar 119332 challenges ofrepparttar 119333 system in today's rapidly expanding technology sector and technological knowledge base.

Consider this. If a net-savvy programmer worked forrepparttar 119334 PTO, then none of these patents would have occurred, as he would haverepparttar 119335 knowledge available to him to make sound judgements.

* Unscrupulous companies are taking advantage ofrepparttar 119336 inadequacies of our Patent system to position themselves in such a way that they can legally extort their competitors throughrepparttar 119337 use of repparttar 119338 U.S. Patent and legal systems.

* The only recourse available, to those who feel that a bad Patent has been imposed, is expensive litigation or submission torepparttar 119339 legal Patent holder.

By signing our petition today, you can contribute to our project to bringrepparttar 119340 U.S. Congress to considerrepparttar 119341 possibility of repealingrepparttar 119342 application of Patents torepparttar 119343 software industry, or to investigaterepparttar 119344 processes and procedures ofrepparttar 119345 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to discover and solve repparttar 119346 inherent problems that are allowing forrepparttar 119347 system to be abused.


Bill Platt is the founder of http://www.PatentTrail.Org , a non-profit website dedicated to bringing the U.S. Congress to take action to remedy the situation that has developed at the U.S. Patents Office concerning Software Patents.

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