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Publications > Dateline Houston > November 2003 > Chapter News

Volume 43, Issue 2

November 2003

Chapter News

November Program Meeting

Ethics in Communication

We offer you a special treat at our November program meeting. Wendy Buskop will focus on ethics in communication. As technical communicators we may develop material with copyrighted information, intellectual property, trademarks, Internet searches, technology transfer, web site copyrights, and agreements.

Wendy has extensive patent and copyright experience as a managing patent attorney for Buskop Law Group, P.C. Since drafting her first patent in 1980 she has worked on numerous cases in patent, trademark, copyright, and related matters for Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Wendy brings all this experience and expertise to our program. After introducing the topics, she will provide a discussion of actual or potential situations where we might find ourselves. It's important to understand these issues as we work with scientists and engineers who may not be familiar with patent, copyright, and intellectual property law. It's also good to know for our own protection.

Wendy has worked on a diverse number of patents and trademark cases. Here is a sample of the more interesting cases:

    • Return of the Jedi trademark applications
    • optics technology for a Nobel prize winner
    • NASA-contracted software
    • Rolls-Royce aircraft engines
    • perfumes
    • explosives
    • sub-sea technology, including remotely operated vehicles
    • interactive games
    • trademark counterfeiting of jewelry and watch designs
    • space shuttle technologies


Hilton Houston Westchase
9999 Westheimer Road


Tuesday, November 11


5:30 p.m. networking (hors d'oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program


$10 (members)
$15 (nonmembers)
$ 5 (student and unemployed members)
$ 10 (student nonmembers)


A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.

Employment Report

by Steve Shriver, Contract Technical Writer, Baker Hughes

Remember the story of the bum sleeping on a park bench? He was approached by a stranger who was curious about what he was thinking. To the great surprise of the stranger, the bum was upbeat and genuinely optimistic.

The bum went on to explain that he was a very successful businessman—in his own mind because he knew exactly what he needed to do to make it all happen. The story goes that this man who was temporarily down on his luck did, in fact, go on to achieve great success in acquiring his fortune.

If you are between contracts (or more accurately when you are between contracts), it always pays big dividends to maintain and protect a positive mental attitude. When you get down (and all human beings do) take proactive steps to stay positive. Here are some ideas that might help.

Positive Help

Take advantage of the outplacement and counseling services available to us all. If these services are not provided by your previous company, seek out help from state and local agencies, as well as church and community services. Help is available, and it's OK to ask for it. (It's a sign of weakness if you don't ask, contrary to popular belief.)

Employee assistance programs may still be available from an ex-employer, and provide specifically for career and job counseling. Many professional counseling services are available at no or low cost, and can provide just the tonic needed to get your attitude right and regain a realistic perspective. Just ask around. It's OK to ask.

Immerse yourself in good books, inspirational literature, audio tapes, and video programs. Turn off the network TV stuff; it's mindless and rarely serves your best interest. Visit your local used book store, and you might be surprised at all the helpful literature you can find, inexpensively.

My 27-year-old son recently read and recommended Rich Dad, Poor Dad to me. (He knows which category I fit in.) I'm old, with some good years left, so I figured maybe I could learn something, even at my advanced age. I have to confess I'm not relentless about books—I'm a good starter but rarely get past the first half before I lose momentum. Please read on, there is a solution.

Good Listening

The solution? I bought the book on tape and I've been listening in the car. How much time do I spend in the car, usually listening to the radio? Way too much. I've listened to these tapes about three times through so far. (I'm particularly dense.) And, I'm starting to get it—it's really got me thinking.

Check out any bookstore (and sometimes Wal-Mart), and you'll find dozens of choices for improving your attitude and your thinking. What's more, all these titles are available in hardback, paperback, cassette tape, audio CD, video tape, CD-ROM, you name it. There are even classes and seminars available on many popular and positive themes.

As the well-known advertisement states, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." Take advantage of your between-contract time and invest in yourself. It will pay off big.

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