TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT ? GOOGLE V. BOOBLE
Search engine powerhouse Google sent a ?Cease & Desist? email on 1/28 to newly launched porn search website Booble.com. Booble.com which has styled itself as a light-hearted parody, launched only 7 days earlier by an Internet entrepreneur. ?What was a bit fun and a joke became a business,? Says the 40-something entrepreneur. Google means business. Their email states that the Booble domain ?is confusingly similar to the famous GOOGLE trademark.? Further it asserts that the website ?web site improperly duplicates the distinctive and proprietary overall look and feel of Google?s website, including Google?s trade dress and the GOOGLE logo.? The email demands that Booble dismantle their website, transfer their domain and any other similar domains to Google and cease an desist from using the Google trade dress all within 7 days.

What does all this mean? Don?t copy another?s trademark (name or logo style), even in parody, unless you want to be sued.

SBA REOPENS 7(A) LOAN PROGRAM
The US Small Business Administration reopened its 7(a) loan program on Wednesday, 01/14/04 with an additional $470 million in lending authority and a loan cap of $750,000 per loan recipient.

Because, the SBA?s Fiscal Year 2004 (starting 10/01/03) appropriation is still awaiting approval in the Senate, the agency has only remained open through a series of short-term Continuing Resolutions. With the $470 million, the program is expected to remain open only through January 31st. Once the SBA receives its full year?s appropriation, it expects to be able to run without interruption. See your local SBA lender for more information.

YAHOO PREPARES TO BATTLE WITH GOOGLE
According to different reports this week, Internet portal Yahoo is preparing to challenge Google for its dominating position in the Web search business, by dropping Google as its primary provider of search listings with its own search technology. Yahoo, in an effort to compete in the pay-per-click market, purchased Overture last year. Both Google and Overture have been generating $ millions in profits from their pay per click services. Most of the advertising coming from small businesses.

More competition between these two industry behemoths will hopefully translate into new pay per click services and new opportunities for small business owners. Stay tuned.

AMAZONA RECORDS FIRST PROFITABLE YEAR IN HISTORY
Showing even the ?big boys? can make lots of money selling stuff on the Internet, Amazon recorded its first annual net profit of $35.3 million last year compared to $149.1 million net loss in 2002. Amazon.com?s net revenue and net profit both grew at healthy clips in the fourth quarter, ending December 31, 2003.

SMALL BUSINESSES DON'T WANT TO DEPEND ON MICROSOFT
A web-based survey last year of 600 small to medium sized businesses (2 to 499 employees) in the US found 43% were concerned about becoming overly reliant on Microsoft?s products and services, the market research firm, Yankee reported Wednesday. 72% said they were actively seeking other vendors to diversify their product portfolios. Two key factors were security and cost of upgrades.

This of course is a problem for Microsoft who has targeted small businesses worldwide (estimated at 45 million) and estimates its 2010 small biz revenues at $10 billion.

WHAT IS SMALLBIZ BITS
SmallBiZ Bits is a quick list of some of the more interesting stories, which may affect your small biz.