Changes to Social Security Coming

There will be no increase in benefits for 2016 according to the latest reports.  Benefit amounts will remain the same as 2015 based upon no increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Also, Congress has determined that a “loophole” in the “file and suspend” rule will be closed.  Some argued that the file and suspend rule allowed couples to receive more benefits than they should have been entitled to.  There were several variations of how couples could begin to receive benefits before the Social Security laws intended.  Congress worked to close this loophole in 2016 to help reduce costs and to ensure couples only received benefits when they are entitled to.

If you are filing for Social Security benefits or are already receiving benefits, you should visit www.ssa.gov and review all of the changes for 2016!

Below are links to Social Security offices in major cities across the country:

 

Ductless Heat Pumps Are A Great Alternative

Do you have an older home that doesn’t have a lot of room for heating ducts and you’re miserable in the summer because your home doesn’t have a proper cooling system?

You may want to look into the new ductless heat pump systems now available.  The new ductless systems offer all of the comfort of a heating and cooling system typically installed during construction, but do not require all of the ducting!

Trying to put a ducted heat pump system into a home requires a lot of effort tearing into walls, floors, ceilings, etc. and in some homes it is all but impossible to install a duct system.

Ductless heat pumps off a great solution for homeowners that do not want to tear up their homes to install a duct system or have homes that cannot support a duct system.

When researching a local ductless heat pump contractor, it is important to ensure they are fully licensed as HVAC contractors in your state and that they are certified to install the type of ductless heat pump you want installed.

Thinking of Building a Home?

It’s the time of year when many people begin thinking about building a new home.  Building a home is a major undertaking and requires a lot of planning to complete home construction in a timely manner and on budget!

Many individuals are researching “green building” which is ofter used to describe building a home in an environmentally safe manner. Green homes and energy efficient homes are now common in many parts of the world.

If you are looking to build a green home or sustainable home, it’s important to work with a contractor that has been certified in the methods and requirements of building a sustainable home.

There are so many decisions that go into building a home, but the most important decision you will make is decided on a reputable, licensed home builder!  Working with an experienced home builder is important to ensure they understand current building codes and methods of building sustainable homes.

Be sure to meet with any prospective home builder to ensure you feel comfortable communicating and working with them.  Home construction can become stressful at times, so it’s important to work with a contractor that you feel comfortable with.

Fatal Auto / Pedestrian Crash in Portland

An elderly Portland, Oregon women riding a motorized scooter was killed when she was hit by another elderly women driving an SUV.

The driver of the vehicle is cooperating with investigators and no other details have been released at this time.

Unfortunate accidents like this occur frequently and have life changing consequences for all parties involved.  If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to talk with an experienced Portland auto accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.

What is Trademark Infringement in California?

First, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of “trademark”:

any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner.

Trademark infringement is when someone uses a design mark or phrase what is to be likely confused with another pre-existing trademark. In general, courts tend to compare the sight, sound and meaning between the marks to determine whether a “likelihood of confusion” exists and also look to how close or related are the goods/services in question.

In addition, an important question to be determined is how “distinctive” the trademark in question is. The categories of trademark distinction include generic marks, descriptive marks, suggestive marks and fanciful/arbitrary marks. Generic marks are not afforded any trademark protection rights, while suggestive and especially fanciful/arbitrary marks receive the highest level of distinction. Descriptive marks are afforded protection but require an additional showing of “secondary meaning” or additional proof that the public has come to consider the descriptive mark as distinctive.

If you have any questions about trademark infringement in California, visit an experienced Trademark Attorney to get more information about your specific questions.