New Research Uncovers the Link Between Faster Decision-making and A Greater Share of Profit

Decision making

Large businesses with access to the right data make faster organisational decisions and are more likely to see 16% higher profits*, according to analysis


A new report has found that big businesses in the UK and US are taking too long to make important organisational decisions and it may be impacting their ability to capitalise on a 16% profit growth opportunity. Businesses that are almost twice (40%) as fast at addressing inefficiency and ineffectiveness in their organisations said they always have access to the data they need to make a decision. That in turn correlates to 16% higher gross annual profits* when compared to those that are slower off the mark.

What’s more, a large majority (89%) of the senior business leaders surveyed felt that they risked being left behind the competition if they take too long making important decisions. Yet, only a third said they have the right amount of time to make a decision, with 61% calling out for more time to get it right. 

The report by specialist technology research company, Vanson Bourne, and organisational planning software firm, orgvue, polled 750 senior business leaders in the UK and US to find out whether there was a correlation between faster organisational decision making and greater business performance. And if so, what it takes to make better decisions faster. 

While it was evident data-driven decisions improved speed, 79% of big businesses said they’ve made important decisions in the last year based on instinct and gut-feel alone. Those opting to go with their gut are also more likely to hesitate in the decision-making process. Over half (55%) said they’ve hesitated to make an organisational decision in the past year, with big businesses in the UK most likely to be cautious (67%) compared to the US (49%).  

The problem is the stakes are higher as 89% say the impacts of their decisions are lasting longer than ever. And almost two thirds (60%) said their confidence was knocked due to the uncertainty brought by COVID with more factors to consider than ever before. With Brexit looming and a prevailing sense of uncertainty, that’s resulting in longer decision-making cycles for over half (51%). 


Rupert Morrison, CEO at orgvue, said: “Too many businesses are still finding themselves hesitating in the hope that a silver bullet solution presents itself for the organisational challenges they’re currently facing. They’re asking themselves ‘what now?’ when the real question they should be asking is ‘what if?’.  While COVID has caused unprecedented disruption for businesses globally in 2020, it’s not the first time a crisis has thrown us into uncharted territory, and it won’t be the last. Yet half said their confidence has taken a hit.

Our research is clear, leadership by instinct under these circumstances is a one way ticket to slow decision making and could mean leaving cash on the table. Instead, invest in getting the right data to the right people and continuously model different scenarios. By doing so, you can make swift decisions fearlessly and we’ve seen how those organisations prepared to commit quickly and confidently to a course of action are seeing a greater chunk of revenue turn to profit.”

Overall, 74% said they’ve regretted making a business decision too slowly, with a third (35%) saying it caused a negative impact on operational efficiency and productivity, a further 34% said it caused employees to lose engagement and 29% said it caused further customer dissatisfaction. UK-based businesses were shown to need the most time to make any kind of organisational decision, where addressing inefficiency and ineffectiveness takes them 20% longer than in the US. 


*profit as a proportion of total revenue

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Broad American and International Coalition Formed to Oppose Limitations on Domestic Blueberry Imports


Ahead of the incoming Biden Administration’s first major trade dispute, American and international blueberry berry growers, importers, distributors, purchasers, and suppliers have aligned to form The Blueberry Coalition for Progress & Health. The Coalition has been organized to oppose limitations on blueberry imports, including the upcoming International Trade Commission hearing on blueberry imports. All members of the Coalition agree that imports are not a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic blueberry industry. In fact, the U.S. blueberry market is healthy, thriving, and is doing its best to keep up with the year-round marketplace demand for this healthy and nutritious fruit.

U.S. consumer consumption of blueberries has experienced more than a 300% increase in per capita consumption since 2005 and is now at an all-time high of 1.79 pounds per person. Restricting blueberry imports into the U.S. will limit consumers’ access to these healthy, delicious, and nutritional berries. Domestic growers cannot alone meet the rapidly growing U.S. consumer demand for a year-round supply of this healthy “super fruit.” Imports are crucial both to meet current demand and to continue to grow the market for the benefit of all growers, domestic and abroad.

“Our family has been farming in America for over 10 generations, and we are headquartered in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Our decision to farm in Mexico and Peru, in addition to the U.S., was in direct response from our retail customers to produce and deliver quality blueberries throughout the entire year,” said Dave Jackson co-owner of Family Tree Farms and a key member of the Coalition. “If we could grow blueberries year-round exclusively in the United States we would, but seasonal crops like blueberries require farming in other countries to meet growing consumer demand throughout the year.”

Blueberry demand has exploded in the United States, and supply has followed suit. While fresh and frozen blueberry imports have grown over the last five years, so have domestic shipments of both types of products. Production and sales volumes indicate both domestic and import supplies have their own independent growing seasons.

The seasonal nature of domestic production means that blueberries grown in the U.S. are essentially unavailable for 20 to 30 weeks a year for most U.S. consumers, and the vast majority of the increase in fresh blueberry imports has occurred during these months. Approximately 80% of imported fresh blueberries enter the U.S. in off-peak weeks, implying that the vast majority of imports do not compete with domestic blueberries. Given the lack of temporal overlap when the two sources of supply are present in the U.S. market, imported and domestic blueberries are better seen as complements than substitutes.

“The domestic industry has earned double-digit operating margins in every year of the time period included within the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation, which compares favorably to broader farm industry benchmarks,” added Joe Barsi, President of California Giant Farms of Watsonville, Calif. and also a leading member of the Coalition. “At California Giant Berry Farms, our mission is to deliver high-quality berries and take care of our growers. We believe that the counter seasonal supply of imports has increased consumption in the U.S. and has helped the health of the domestic blueberry industry.”

U.S. fresh blueberry production and shipments are heavily concentrated within a 20-week period, running from late-April to early-September. Over 90% of U.S. fresh blueberries are sold during the 20-week peak season. Farmers in large blueberry growing states including North Carolina and New Jersey sell all their blueberries in the peak weeks. Farmers in other large blueberry growing states including Georgia, California, Oregon, and Washington sell more than 90% of their crop in peak weeks. Farmers in every U.S. state except Florida sells at least 80% of its fresh blueberry crop within the 20-week peak U.S. season.

“The U.S. blueberry market is thriving, and our goal is to ensure that we continue to fairly meet the marketplace demand for this healthy and delicious fruit,” added Barsi. “Blueberry imports are crucial to U.S. consumers, retailers, and the U.S. economy, and they clearly contribute to the success of the domestic industry. We are launching this Coalition to alert America’s blueberry lovers and to educate decision makers on the stakes of their upcoming actions, and to prevent the destruction of the thriving and essential blueberry industry.”

To learn more about the benefits of imported blueberries to U.S. consumers, growers and the economy, visit the website for the Blueberry Coalition for Progress and Health.

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IoT and 5G Boost Global Electronic Test and Measurement Market, Says Frost & Sullivan


Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, IoT and Hi-speed Communication Powering the Global Electronic Test and Measurement Market, 2020, forecasts that the advancement of 5G and the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology will help the market reach $18.94 billion by 2025, despite a slight decline of 0.7% due to COVID-19. Driven by digital transformation, IoT, Industry 4.0, and other Mega Trends, the use of connected electronic devices is expected to grow regardless of vertical, as will the demand for electronic test and measurement equipment.

“Electronic test and measurement (T&M) instruments find significant utilization in research, product development, prototyping, manufacturing, and field testing applications,” said Prabhu KarunakaranIndustry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “Semiconductor automatic test equipment (ATE) is likely to be the top revenue generator due to the sheer size of the market, ever-increasing end-user demand and the evolution of consumer electronics technologies. Radio frequency (RF) test equipment is expected to represent the second-largest revenue opportunity, driven by continuing R&D investments in communications and other verticals—both current and future programs in 5G and 6G—and the commercialization of 5G.”

Karunakaran added: “The automotive end-user vertical is also expected to emerge as a significant contributor given the aggressive progress of autonomous projects, which will fuel demand and continue to offer growth opportunities.”

For further revenue opportunities, electronic T&M vendors should explore the following growth areas:

  • 5G: Work with various stakeholders in the value chain to capitalize on the opportunities that advancement in mmWave technology and the proliferation of 5G use cases will bring.
  • Autonomous driving: Proactively monitor the development of electric vehicles (EV) and other new mobility technologies to develop solutions that address their natural testing needs.
  • Power applications: Innovate and develop solutions that offer design engineers better noise performance, more precision and the ability to catch fast, small, and unpredictable signals.
  • Edge IoT: Understand varied requirements for testing and design equipment that are cost-effective and require minimum customization.
  • Next-gen data centers: Work with end users to understand relevant requirements and develop products to support such R&D activities.

IoT and Hi-speed Communication Powering the Global Electronic Test and Measurement Market, 2020 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Measurement and Instrumentation Growth Partnership Service program.

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Sustainability and Business Go Hand in Hand 2021


Companies are always looking for new ways to grow, so many decide to go green. Business owners see strong results on bottom lines after implementing eco-friendly solutions. Sustainability and business go hand in hand in 2021, so read about how a few changes could make next year your most successful one yet.

Going green isn’t just a hobby anymore. It’s becoming an expected lifestyle that consumers don’t want to sidestep when buying goods and services. These steps will show your clients that you value their sustainable goals and grow your consumer base overnight.


Young People Want Hope

Evidence for global warming grows each year. In 2019, 57% of Americans expected the environment to get worse for the next generation. Young people adapt their routines to minimize their carbon footprint, but they’re also aware that more progress lies elsewhere. They know businesses could make a significant positive impact in the race to improve the environment. A recent global survey found that 61% of consumers want businesses to lead the way as the world goes green.

Companies that start sustainable practices will gain new and recurring clients who want a brighter future. Maintaining these efforts strengthens customer loyalty and makes any company more appealing to younger generations who hope to grow up in the same world they were born into.


Federal Tax Credits Help Profits

Business owners may struggle to invest in sustainable technology because it’s expensive. If you can overcome the initial financial hurdle, they’ll pay themselves off quickly. You’ll save money on recurring expenses like the electricity bill and earn green investment tax credits for your next yearly filing.


Sustainability Supports the Local Economy

Sustainability comes back around by supporting the local economy. Instead of paying for products from companies that outsource their labor, company owners can find locally sourced businesses that support small farms and fisheries. Your money goes directly to the locals who make your city thrive and funds the work that necessitates new jobs.


Employees Become Healthier

Going green doesn’t have to start by overhauling your electricity usage or developing new product packaging. Start in the office and make it a healthier place for employees. Throw out old cleaners if they use chemical ingredients. Some of those airborne pollutants irritate lung tissue and others will drain into the environment and pollute waterways.

Start 2021 by only using environmentally friendly cleaning products. Start 2021 by only using environmentally friendly cleaning products. Maintaining cleaner air and germ-free office surfaces with biodegradable products is better for everyone and the planet.


Green Technology Pays for Itself

Business owners may still have some difficulty making their first leap into sustainability because of the upfront costs. A recent study found that going green always pays for itself if you give it time. If the country switched to 100% renewable energy overnight, the $73 trillion would save $11 trillion every year, requiring only seven years to recuperate the initial investment.

Smaller companies wouldn’t have to spend that much or wait that long. Find an expert who can dig into the math and discover when your investment would turn a profit. The savings could mean the difference between shuttering your windows or having the emergency funds to make it through difficult times.


Look Forward to Green Changes

As 2021 begins, look forward to how sustainability and business go hand in hand. Everything from supporting local farmers to switching the office cleaning products will make your company greener and experience greater success.

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NASA Discoveries, R&D, Moon to Mars Exploration Plans Persevere in 2020

international space station

In 2020, NASA made significant progress on America’s Moon to Mars exploration strategy, met mission objectives for the Artemis program, achieved significant scientific advancements to benefit humanity, and returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, all while agency teams acted quickly to assist the national COVID-19 response.

“NASA has impressed the nation with our resilience and persistence during the pandemic,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We made history with a U.S. commercial partner, made groundbreaking discoveries, advanced science, furthered aeronautics research and technology development, and even joined in the fight against COVID-19. We met an incredibly challenging year with incredible achievements and established a path for continued success.”

The space agency’s aid to the federal pandemic response included development of a surface decontamination system, a ventilator developed by engineers in just 37 days, and an oxygen helmet to treat COVID-19 patients.

In 2020, astronauts launched from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011 and, for the first time ever, on an American commercial spacecraft. The return of crewed launches to U.S. shores arrived during the 20th year of a continuous human presence aboard the space station, enabling more critical science to prepare for future Artemis missions.

NASA advanced its plan for a robotic and human return to the Moon under the Artemis program, is on track for its first two robotic deliveries next year, named astronauts to the Artemis Team, and identified science priorities and activities for the Artemis III mission to land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface in 2024.

Robotic and human exploration go hand-in-hand, with the former leading the way to smarter, safer human missions. NASA launched its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission to the Red Planet in July, and it’s now more than halfway to its destination. Track the rover’s journey in real time using the Eyes on the Solar System application.

NASA took a major step in solidifying international cooperation for exploration with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and eight partner countries. The accords implement the Outer Space Treaty and other international agreements to establish a set of principles to guide cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s lunar exploration plans, such as the full, timely, and public release of scientific data. By committing to the principles of the Artemis Accords, NASA and its partners help ensure humanity can enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future in space.

In a first for NASA, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft briefly touched and collected samples from the asteroid Bennu Oct. 20. The samples will return to Earth in 2023.

The James Webb Space Telescope, the agency’s next great observatory, made progress toward its launch in 2021, now targeted for Oct. 31

Read more about NASA’s achievements, missions, research, and discoveries here 

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Every Step Counts – Toyota Releases its 2020 North American Environmental Report


Toyota endeavors to help address major environmental issues facing the global community, such as climate change, water scarcity, resource depletion and habitat loss. To minimize environmental impact across its business and maximize positive outcomes, Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has focused its 2020 environmental sustainability efforts on five key areas – carbon, water, materials, biodiversity and outreach.

This year’s North American Environmental Report highlights include:

  • Waste Reduction and Recycling: At Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC), team members developed a method for recycling the plastic resin waste used to mold front and rear bumpers by melting and returning the plastic resin, known as TSOP-7 to its original form without any degradation in quality. This process, which is regenerative by design, demonstrates a circular economy and has ensured that 100 percent of the scrap bumper material that leaves TMMC comes back to TMMC.

  • Reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions by nine percent in Fiscal Year 2020 compared to Fiscal Year 2019. This improvement is attributed to energy efficiency improvements, investments in renewable energy and changes in production volumes and model mix.

  • New electrified product launches including the RAV4 Prime Plug-In Hybrid, Sienna Hybrid and Venza Hybrid. In keeping with our aim to offer an electrified version of our entire lineup by around 2025.

“At Toyota, it’s imperative that we do our part to offer more sustainable solutions to our customers, while identifying ways to reduce our own impact on the environment – from infrastructure, to manufacturing, and beyond,” said Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate at Toyota Canada. “It’s not enough to talk the talk – so we’re very proud to ‘walk the walk’ alongside our valuable partners across Canada.”

Toyota’s North American environmental efforts are anchored to Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050 and demonstrate respect for the planet by managing priority issues specific to Canadathe United States and Mexico, and engaging in outreach by promoting awareness, developing strategic partnerships and sharing know-how with business partners and other stakeholders to create positive change.

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U.S. and UK businesses call for improvement as employee education singled out as the biggest weakness during lockdown


Thirty per cent of respondents admit to using unencrypted devices according to latest Apricorn poll.

Apricorn the leading manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB drives, today announced new findings from a Twitter poll exploring the data security and business preparedness for remote working during the pandemic. More than 30 per cent of respondents singled out employee education as being the biggest area where companies needed to make changes to improve cybersecurity.

The poll was issued over 6 days and targeted employees in both the U.S. and UK. In addition to concerns about employee education, respondents also flagged updates to hardware (29%), endpoint control (21%) and enforcing encryption (19%) as areas of weakness, where organisations need to make changes to improve cybersecurity. Given that almost 30 per cent of respondents admitted to using unencrypted devices during the pandemic, this raises many concerns particularly at a time when we are seeing a dramatic increase in the volume of data being downloaded, and a potential for more data on the move.

Kurt Markley, Director of Sales at Apricorn commented – “Employees have a critical role to play in their organisation’s cyber security processes, from recognising the tools required, through to the policies in place to protect sensitive data. Whether it be through the delivery of awareness programs or ongoing training, establishing a culture of security within the workforce is essential.
Endpoint security is critical, and deploying removable storage devices with built-in hardware encryption, for example, will ensure all data can be stored or moved around safely offline. Even if the device is lost or stolen, the information will be unintelligible to anyone not authorised to access it.”

In addition, more than 40 per cent of respondents admitted that, as an individual, they were not fully prepared to work at home securely and productively. Almost a fifth (18 per cent) said they lacked the right technology to do so, 16 per cent were not sure how to, and just over 20 per cent said they were still not able to work remotely.
“Many businesses will now have witnessed the positive productivity and financial impact of a remote workforce, but without the right tools, processes and security in place, this can very easily backfire” Markley continued.

With the poll results showing that more than 60 per cent of respondents are planning to work remotely, all, or some of the time following the pandemic, the threat to corporate data is only going to mount. Almost 20 per cent admitted that the experience of working from home highlighted major gaps in their employer’s cybersecurity strategy/policies.
When questioned as to whether their company had experienced a data breach as a result of remote working during the pandemic, over 20 per cent said yes, but a further 22 per cent said they didn’t know if they had suffered a breach.

According to Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA at Apricorn, “IT and security teams had to scramble to respond to this crisis and in doing so, left a lot of companies wide open to breach. Nine months into employees working remotely, some know already that they have been attacked. Others think they may have been but can’t be sure. In the same way that we had to learn how to protect ourselves from illness and modify our behaviour, we had to also learn how to protect our data outside of the firewall and more important, to remain vigilant about it.”

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10 Steps to Become a Fiscally Responsible Person


If you’ve wanted to take charge of your financial situation, you’re not alone. While fiscal responsibility is usually a term associated with the government, you can apply the concept to personal financing.

Managing and being accountable for your finances can begin today. Follow these 10 steps to becoming a fiscally responsible person.


1. Determine Your Goals

Becoming fiscally responsible requires you to set goals and make an action plan for yourself. Being accountable for your finances requires determination — no one else can do it for you.

Write out a statement of what you want to achieve with your money, whether it be paying off small debts or saving money for an item like a car. Setting yourself up for success from the beginning will help you see things through to the end.


2. Know Your Money Status

After determining your goals, you have to create a budget, including where money is coming in and going out. If you don’t already have a budget, keep track of your spending for a few months.

Use your budget to get a complete picture of your financial habits. If you spend more than you take in, you should reassess your goals to start saving money.


3. Pay Debts

Debts tend to linger. If you want to become fiscally responsible, you’ll need to pay off any outstanding debts with high interest rates, which could include student loans or credit card debt.

Start by putting as much as you can afford toward your debts each week. As your debt shrinks, you’ll owe less each time.


4. Save for an Emergency Fund

Use an emergency fund to cover any emergency costs, like medical expenses or substantial bills. To put it simply, it’s buffer money.

The emergency fund should equal the amount of money you get from three months of paychecks. If you feel you are more likely to be in a situation where you need an emergency fund, contribute more when you can.


5. Invest, Invest, Invest

Investing for the future will help you achieve your financial goals because it enables you to attain some wealth and allows for more of a buffer in emergencies. Begin by investing for yourself in things like a retirement fund or a 401(k).

Once you’ve started building your nest egg, you can invest in other things like stocks or real estate.


6. Protect Yourself and Your Family

Insurance is there to cover you and your family in the case of an emergency. Types of insurance include auto, medical, home and life insurances.

Some employers will provide their employees with an insurance plan. If not, research insurance companies and choose one that will suit your needs.


7. Build Your Credit

When you have a higher credit score, you have lower interest rates, and you have a better chance of applying for a loan or renting an apartment. It’s essential that you are responsible with your credit cards, though. Pay off your credit card bill as soon as you can, just like you do with all your others.


8. Spend With Caution

Even if you have paid off your debts and begun to save for your future, you should continue to be cautious with your money. Avoid temptations — if you like to buy shoes, maybe stay away from shoe stores or websites.

It’s essential to be wise with your spending habits. A few frivolous purchases can add up quickly.


9. Don’t Wait to Pay Bills

As soon as a bill comes due, pay it as quickly as possible to keep your payments from accruing. Once you allow bills to pile up, the expenses may soon become more than you can handle at one given time.

Spread out your payments and mark all due dates on your calendar. Keeping a monthly bill schedule will make you more fiscally responsible.


10. Maintain These Habits

If you have achieved your financial goals, that’s great! However, you must continue these steps to be financially responsible. You can’t stop paying bills on time or cancel all your insurance coverage.

Continue to save and manage your budget as time passes. Be wise with your spending, and keep increasing your credit score.


Your Financial Future Begins at Step One

Achieving a life goal like becoming a fiscally responsible person begins with small, practical steps. Once you have defined realistic objectives, you will be well on your way to controlling your financially accountable future.

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Best IP Law Firm – North Carolina


Pedigo Law Firm has most recently been awarded “Best IP Law Firm – North Carolina” by U.S. Business News Magazine in its Legal Elite Awards 2020, a research and merit-based selection by an independent panel based on criteria including, but not limited to:  client dedication, innovation, business growth, longevity, online reputation, customer feedback, and business performance.  Intellectual property is all about proving uniqueness in a saturated and competitive global market full of innovative technology, medical advancements, and specialty products.

Pedigo Law Firm is a boutique IP counseling practice based in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Its managing attorney, Paul Pedigo, believes that “the best quality intellectual property products are the collaborations of many minds including the attorney and the creator among them.”  

Martindale-Hubbell® has accepted Pedigo Law Firm to the Bar Register of Preeminent LawyersTM since 2011, which is exclusive to AV® PreeminentTM attorneys.  Managing attorney Paul Pedigo has held the highest possible peer review rating of 5.0/5 in both legal ability and ethical standards for nearly 20 years, since 2001.  He has been listed among Super Lawyers North Carolina and among the North Carolina Legal Elite on four occasions and as early as 2006.  The American Registry placed Paul among America’s most honored lawyers, the top 1%, from 2016 through 2020, and most recently he was also recognized in 2020 for Excellence in Intellectual Property by Lawyers of Distinction and as a Top Attorney of North America by The Who’s Who Directories, each of these based on factually substantiated criteria, including peer-based selection.   

Intellectual property, although intangible, has remarkable consequences prompting businesses to avidly seek protection for their ideas and investments and to stop infringements. Oftentimes businesses and their stakeholders, whether it be a large corporation or a startup, fail to register the need for legal services, let alone develop a comprehensive and proactive IP strategy. That is where Pedigo Law Firm functions at its best:  resolving such findings for its innovative clients in the life science, chemical, packaging, and machinery fields, whether medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics, just to name a few.  Clients have concluded that Pedigo Law Firm’s “unique insights have enabled [the Firm] to patent innovations that [the client was] not even aware of being novel and inventive.”   

Pedigo Law Firm’s multi-disciplinary IP approach includes work experience drawn from top-tier corporate firms in Chicago as well as Charlotte in addition to major international organizations. The Firm has consistently helped its clients take a proactive approach in preserving and protecting their intellectual property in up to as many as 70 countries, validating Abraham Lincoln’s claim that “the patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”  Significant patents written by Mr. Pedigo in the poly(ethylene glycol) chemistry field became blockbuster drugs earning over one billion dollars a year in annual revenue.  The Firm’s relationship-focused representation allows it to offer IP expertise in a strategic, hands-on way that has extended to the pharmaceutical, medical devices, chemicals, optics, life sciences, biotech, packaging, and complex machinery arenas.

Management is by example and proves that “the breadth of the lawyers background, depth of curiosity and the quality of being a quick study of people and technologies provides the raw material to build effective intellectual property protection.”  For the managing attorney, becoming an intellectual property lawyer was a natural progression from engineering practice, requiring both technical knowledge, engineering experience, and a mastery in writing.  Paul’s foundational education in English and Philosophy with expanded course work in topics such as Anthropology, Botany, and Zoology from Vanderbilt University (B.A., 1976) grounded his pursuits in Chemical Engineering, also from Vanderbilt (B.E.,1980), Law from Loyola University of Chicago (J.D., 1985), and post-graduate study in the LL.M. program in intellectual property law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago prior to moving to North Carolina.  This foundation and fascination with how things work helped engineer his patent, copyright, and trademark career. 

Paul advises his IP colleagues that “by obtaining, over their lifetimes, as broadly based an education as possible, well grounded in the arts, sciences, literature, and engineering,” lawyers can better serve their clients.”  The notable inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell once postured that “great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.”  Paul has proved Graham’s statement several times over the course of his years in IP that clearly defining roles – the inventor as a technical expert, the advertiser as the brand advocate, and the lawyer as the professor of all the patent and trademark knowledge – is advantageous for all contributors.

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Hundreds of millions of eCommerce parcels into the US set to be rejected unless higher data quality threshold is met from January 1, 2021


Several hundred million mail parcels destined for the United States will be rejected when the requirement for a higher threshold of advance electronic data comes into force on January 1, 2021.

Posts have had it confirmed that as of that date any parcels arriving in the US with incorrect or incomplete data will be refused and returned to origin.

Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border eCommerce trade data and compliance technology, says the United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to meet in just a few weeks.

The January 1 deadline marks the latest step in the enforcement of the US STOP Act which is primarily intended to crack down on the importation of illicit opioids into the country.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the STOP Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year.

“From January 1, posts will be expected without exception to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US.

“As things stand that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin.

“This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.

“Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, in turn, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19.

“The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched its easy to integrate Zephyr data enhancement product which allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information all under a single quick check function.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can, on an item by item API call base, provide for a real time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. The screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items that is sent to Hurricane takes no more than 15 minutes.

David Spottiswood, a co-founder of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS deadline is real and is just a few weeks away from being rigorously enforced.

“Our Zephyr solution has been created specifically to meet this challenge and can be activated and delivering enhanced data quickly.

“We know from customer results that Zephyr enables posts to achieve the required data quality threshold.

“Posts which are able to meet the rigorous higher standards being set by the USPS are likely to gain a competitive edge in the world of cross-border trade.”

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