Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on January 12, 1998 · Page 37
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 37

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Rochester, New York
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Monday, January 12, 1998
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MondajSpccial Check out our usiness Digital Edition Small Business. The Workplace . www. Roches terDandC. com DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 1998 Executive Summary News to start your week Monday B 533 Change at the top A top executive in the struggling sunglasses unit at Bausch & Lomb Inc. has left the company. Spokeswoman Holly Echols said W. Jeff Pontius' departure was effective Jan. 1, and she would not elaborate. An executive shuffle in the division last year may provide insight: Pontius was recruited by CEO William Carpenter in 1995. Pontius quickly vaulted into the position of global business manager for eyewear, reporting directly to Carpenter. But in April, Dwain L. Hahs, a 20-year veteran, was appointed to oversee the sunglasses business effectively bumping Pontius down at least a notch. The sunglasses unit, maker of Ray-Bans, has been a drag on B&L profits for nearly two years. First born will lead A child's place in the birth order of his or her family may determine whether he or she becomes a CEO in later life, finds Aubin International, an executive recruitment firm. The company, which along with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher surveyed nearly 700 executives around the world, found that the eldest in the family was twice as likely as younger siblings to become a chief executive or president of a company. But they also tend to be more conservative than younger siblings, who were found more likely to support radical change in a company. Ulllll II I. bloh, blak I3LAH. blahhhh. Maltli.tjIahH h! blah! blah. blab. Jargon watch Whoever wrote the following jargon classic was a student in somebody's English class not too long ago. How would that teacher mark up this text?: "TenFold is pioneering breakthrough technology for developing sophisticated applications quickly and reliably. TenFold applications are all Year 2000-compliant and support client-server, multi-platform architectures and heterogenous database environments." Reasonforfailure Many newly promoted executives struggle and fail because they don't build partnerships with their subordinates and peers, says Manchester Consulting, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based firm. Four in 10 newly promoted managers perform significantly below expectations in the first 18 months in their new positions, resign, or are terminated for poor performance, according to the survey. Freezing tax plans Various proposals in front of federal and state legislators suggest taxing Internet commerce a marketplace that could generate revenues of $200 billion or more by 2002. Representing several media giants on the issue is Rochester's Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle. Its clients include the Media Tax Group, which consists of heavyweights like America Online, the TV networks, Gannett Co. and other major newspapers. The group is advocating a freeze on new Internet tax plans, "so we can have some rational decisions on how to tax these things fairly," said lawyer Ken Silverberg. Compiled from staff and wire reports. Book 'em Gary Ross, director of sales for the Hyatt, overlooks the main lobby of the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Ross works with the center to recruit conventions. Tourism group charting new course along familiar paths BY STAFF WRITER JAMES GOODMAN Last spring, . the Greater Rochester Visitors Association appeared on the verge of collapse, with staff jumping ship and continued funding appearing uncertain. Monroe County Executive Jack Doyle wanted to expand the organization's mission beyond recruiting visitors and conventions to luring businesses and skilled workers. He did get a new board, but. that body, now on the verge of naming a president, apparently is backing off from any sweeping changes. In the meantime the GRVA has plodded along, nailing down convention business for the next few years and set ting in motion Greater &b.. vTi. i-.'.j 'L.:v Kodak loses ii I i ANNETTE LEIN staff photographer Testing Power tester in action on Duracell battery. v (r some new tourism marketing programs. "Before all the controversy, it (the GRVA) had a definite mission and goal. You knew where it was heading. Right now it's up in the air and it's not sure where it will end up," said Terry Gleason, president of the Coalition for Downtown Rochester and a planner with Passero Associates, an architectural engineering firm. The tourism industry pumps about $200 million into the local economy each year. While these dollars are only a fraction of the $7.2 billion in sales in the county, tourism is not only vital to the health of downtown Rochester but, is an industry that with the area's rich cultural attractions has considerable growth potential. Clearly, 1997 was a tough year for the GRVA. "The uncertainty made it a very difficult place. That's one sure fact I can tell you," said Jamie Rice, who left as GRVA's director of tourism sales and now works in convention sales at the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. But Irwin J. Metzger, who has served as president since January 1997, is credited with moving GRVA ahead. Although one local hotel official said recruiting new business lagged during the height of the turmoil, there is no solid sign that business was lost. The 82 meetings and conferences that GRVA CONVENTIONS, PAGE 6E Self promotion Rochester hotels and other organizations banded together to advertise in out-of-town newspapers, including several in Canada. Rochester Visitors Association ruling over patent rights BY STAFF WRITER PHIL EBERSOLE Two amateur inventors probably have cost Eastman Kodak Co. the patent rights to power testers found on millions of household batteries. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled last month that Kodak isn't entitled to the patent for the Duracell Powercheck tester found in Duracell batteries. The tester is similar to one invented by James R. Burroughs, a one-time Avis rental-car franchisee in Los Angeles, and Alan N. 0"Kain, a lawyer and developer in Portland, Ore. Kodak won't say what it stands to lose in royalties. Kodak is appealing the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a special federal court for hearing patent cases. Kodak declined to comment for this story. But Kodak can't win that case until it shows the patent examiners abused their discretion, said Peter W. Peterson, a New Haven, Conn., lawyer who represents Burroughs and O'Kain. Burroughs and O'Kain filed for a patent for a tester and switch attached to the side of a battery in 1989, and were granted one in May 1991. Kodak developed the same idea independently and filed for a patent in 1990. Kodak's case went to a different patent examiner, who granted Kodak a patent in October 1991. Both patents were for essentially the same idea: a f? n 1 ; I Bringing it all together The many meetings and conferences in Rochester last year took place at several local venues. One location in particular, the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, hosted a wide assortment of shows. Here's a brief look at a few of them: a;M Vastly,, - ( V V !- J '). - J-,. ' - . '-' 4 Trek-O-Rama When: April 13, 1997. Organizer: Star Knight Productions, Harrisburg, N.C. Attendance: 700. Greater Rochester Business Show When: Sept. 11, 1997. Organizer: Center Stage Events, Syracuse. Attendance: 956. built-in gauge on the side of a battery that, when two points of the battery are pressed at the same time, shows how much power is left. To make things even more confusing, Duracell International Inc. and Eveready Battery Co. filed their own patent applications. But neither of those companies won patents. So when the two companies announced their Duracell Powercheck and Energizer testers in 1996, Duracell licensed the rights to Kodak's patent and Eveready licensed rights from Burroughs and O'Kain's Strategic Electronics LLC. Peterson said that Kodak, in order to prevail, would have had to do one of two things: Show that although Bur SHAWN DOWD staff photographer Rochester Riverside Boat Show When: Feb. 5-10, 1997. Organizer: Jim McCann, Rochester. Attendance: 7,789. Genesee Cat Fanciers Allbreed Cat Show When: April 5-6, 1997. Organizer: Betsy Arnold, Rochester. Attendance: 1,800. for batteries roughs and O'Kain filed their patent application first, the Kodak scienists Richard T. Cataldi, Patrick D. Hein, Henry J. Heirigs and John C. Leo actually invented their tester first. But Kodak didn't show any priority in invention, he said. Show that Burroughs and O'Kain's patent wasn't valid. Kodak tried to do this by asserting that they didn't describe their invention clearly. But patent examiners rejected this argument, writing that "most of the objections are 'nit-picking.'" In the 1980s Kodak made a bid to be a major player in the battery business itself, and Kodak batteries are still made by MUTEC, a joint venture of Kodak and Matsushita Electric Inc. 1 I Number of businesses started fell in '96 GANNETT NEWS SERVICE LISA BIANK FASIG Despite all those copies of Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines zipping off the shelves, the number of American small businesses founded in 1996 and probably in 1997 declined. According to the second annual "Business Starts and Stops" survey by Wells Fargo Bank and the National Federation of Independent Business, the number of companies started from scratch decreased roughly 14 percent in 1996 from 1995. That's a slip of 473,000 businesses, to 3 million from almost 3.48 million. Likewise, the number of business owners, including those who bought or inherited a company, declined 12 percent, to almost 5.6 million a drop of 786,000 during the year. "It means, I think, that the economy is very good, which is kind of the opposite we might expect (for business creation)," said William Dennis, senior research fellow at NFIB. "Jobs are easier to obtain, and people are gravitating toward the more sure thing." Not that the rate of business failures in 1996 sent a discouraging message. According to Judy Webb, administrative manager of the economics analysis department at Dun & Brad-street Corp., the number of business failures in 1996 rose slightly to 71,811 from 71,128 in 1995. But the failure rate the number of failures per 10,000 concerns, declined to 80 from 82. The survey involved monthly telephone interviews with 3,000 people, totaling 36,000 interviews throughout the year. Participants were selected randomly. The margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point. Alternate training sites thrive at work THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MAGGIE JACKSON Workers at a Siemens factory in North Carolina often spent many a minute chatting in the cafeteria. Managers shook their heads and wondered how to stop such gatherings until a group of researchers came up with a surprise. As part of a study to be released Wednesday on how and when workers learn, the scientists revealed that the cafeteria was actually a "hotbed" of workplace learning, said Barry Blystone, director of training at the Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution plant in Wendell, N.C. "The assumption was made that this was chitchat, talking about the golf game," said Blystone in a telephone interview. "But there was a whole lot of work activity." The two-year, $1.6 million study by the Newton, Mass.-based Center for Workforce Development provides one of the most comprehensive looks yet at informal learning on the job the ad hoc education that all workers receive yet few companies deem important. More companies are realizing that in a service and information economy, intellectual capital is often their most important competitive edge. They're searching for ways to better educate and keep their best employees. Yet for most companies! that means pouring money TRAINING, page 4

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