Why Hard Water is Bad

People who have never had any experience with “hard” water may find the concept of “softening” water weird. Those who live in Texas where hard water is common will nod their heads and start comparing notes about the best way to do it. Water is said to be hard when it contains metal ions such as calcium and magnesium, and the degree of hardness depends on the proportion of metal ions that occur in water. While this does not affect the safety of drinking water, it does have a distinct smell and taste that can be off-putting for some.

The real problem with hard water is what it leaves behind. About 80% of all households in the US have some degree of hardness in their water, but laundry in Omaha, Nebraska where the water is “softer” is apt to be better than in Austin, Texas. This is because the presence of metal ions affects how the water interacts with soaps and detergents. Instead of producing lather, it produces a sticky precipitate that we typically refer to as soap scum. It clings to most surfaces including clothes, drinking glasses and bathroom surfaces, and this residue is difficult to remove. It is unattractive and frustrating for any householder.

Aside from esthetics, hard water also seriously affects the energy efficiency of water heaters and any pipe or fixture where water passes through because the metal ions adhere to the surfaces, causing lime scale buildup. This can clog the pipes and openings, reducing water flow and causing appliances to eventually fail. In most cases, it is next to impossible to clean the lime scale out, so the homeowner is forced to replace the affected items. In areas such as Austin where the effects of hard water can go to the extreme, water softeners are necessary. Water softeners are machines that are designed to remove or neutralize these metal ions so that they will not wreak havoc in the home. There are many different methods for doing this but one of the safer and more energy efficient way is through ion exchange. There are two- and three-tank systems, but the three-tank systems are self-cleaning, which reduces the costs of maintenance. There are systems that make use of a mechanical turbine instead of electricity to pump water from one tank to another, making it environmentally and pocket friendly as well.

Business Concerns: Trademarks and Trade Secrets

Any company’s reputation will surely be put on the line if its trade practices are found deceptive or misleading, unless such deception is the work (and proven to be the work) of another, such as a competitor. According to the website of Arenson Law Group, PC, trade secret is what usually makes a company more successful than all its competitors (which are in the same line of business). It can be a simple formula, program, device, method, technique, process, practice or any critical information which can be the source of economic gain to someone who discloses or uses it. Thus, to protect a company’s competitive edge or trade secret, it has been considered as one the categories that need to be put under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law. These protections afford a company the ability to pursue litigation when it feels someone has infringed on its properties in order to both get a possible compensation and clear the company’s name from any false accusations.

Obtaining trade secrets illegally is a violation of federal and state laws. The state, generally speaking, is the one primarily tasked to enforce trade secrets laws, however, a law passed in 1996, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), gives the federal government the authority to take charge over certain cases. This same Act also gives the U.S. Attorney General the power to prosecute anyone (individuals or companies), who can be proven as involved, in whatever way, in the misappropriation of trade secrets. The Attorney General has, likewise, been given the authority to impose severe punishment on whoever will be found guilty of deliberate stealing, copying or receiving of trade secrets. And, if a foreign government or business firm will benefit from a trade secret misappropriation, then the punishments to be imposed on those found guilty and caught will be doubled.

Besides trade secrets, another category placed under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law is trademark. A trademark, also called brand name or service mark can refer to a slogan, logo, mark or symbol that will directly identify the provider or source of goods or services.

A trademark, even by itself, can distinguish quality goods and services from substandard ones. Thus, some have just have the inclination to make their brand name, symbol, logo, as well as the colors of the symbol, as close as possible to the original, in an attempt to lure or mislead inattentive and unassuming customers.

Fort Worth intellectual property lawyers, trained in intellectual property law, can identify an act of infringement, where there is one, and put a good argument that will uphold the rights of an aggrieved individual or firm, and fight for damages where such is due.