NRF weighs in on Innovation Act
The National Retail Federation’s SVP, David French, has released a statement welcoming the House’s passage of H.R. 3309, also known as the Innovation Act, which seeks to protect retailers against patent trolls.
“The National Retail Federation is pleased that the House has strongly supported the enactment of the patent litigation reform," said French. "This has been and continues to be a top priority for the retail industry and our diverse membership."
“The Innovation Act will provide Main Street merchants and retailers protection against frivolous patent infringement claims and costly litigation derived from deceptive patent trolls."
“NRF will continue its collaboration with other end-user organizations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, Food Marketing Institute, Internet Association, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Restaurant Association and Retail Industry Leadership Association, and direct its attention to the Senate to ensure that the bill becomes law," he concluded.
The Act, which would require more specificity in lawsuits and create greater transparency surrounding financial interests, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 325 to 91 on Dec. 5.
Study: Home prices outpace rents
The latest release from the Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor positions the arc of rising home prices well above that of rents going into the new year.
According to Trulia, asking home prices were up 12.1% year-over-year in November, marking growth in all but two of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Month-over-month, they were up 1.0%.
To that end, there was a slight quarterly slowdown in some of the hottest housing markets, including Las Vegas, Oakland, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit and Los Angeles (in that order). However, prices continued a steady acceleration in warm markets (those were prices rose by less than 10% year-over-year).
Meanwhile, rents were up 3.0% year-over-year in November, with rents accelerating the most in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Washington D.C. and Philadelphia were among the markets experiencing decreases in rents.
“Homebuying is much less affordable at the end of 2013 than at the start,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Prices rose faster than rents in all of the largest metros, even in San Francisco and Portland, where rents rose 10 percent or more in the past year. Higher prices, along with higher mortgage rates, could make renting a better deal than buying in some markets in 2014.”
Trulia’s metrics are early indicators of trends in home prices and rents that are based on real-time Trulia listings.
Scotts Miracle-Gro, Velcro partner to enhance packaging
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has turned to Velcro Industries to help it enhance packaging for its Scotts EZ Seed grass seed with Velcro-brand Press-Lok closure technology.
The leading marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products and Velcro Industries worked with manufacturer Peel Plastics Products, a recognized leader in product and process innovation, to integrate Velcro Industries’ Press-Lok closure technology into Scotts’ grass seed package.
According to the company, the new packaging helps to extend the shelf life of grass seed. The Press-Lok closure addresses any chance of package misalignment by containing a series of interlocking micro features that connect at multiple levels, even after repeated use. The closure technology is available on both the 10-pound and 14.5-lb. packages.
"Consumers increasingly focus on product design and packaging attributes as they make purchasing decisions. Press-Lok closure provides a superior consumer experience and enhanced packaging design," said Jurjen Jacobs, VP global marketing, Velcro Industries. "We’ve seen great success with brands incorporating our closure into their package design and we’re pleased to expand into the outdoor and gardening market through this exciting partnership with Scotts."
"Scotts’ focus is on providing the best lawn care products on the market to help homeowners, gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts easily create beautiful, healthy and hearty outdoor spaces," said Jason Olson, brand manager, Scotts Miracle-Gro. "Our new packaging for EZ Seed makes packaging lawn care even more efficient and enjoyable for our consumers, who will now have increased assurance that the product is securely closed in storage."
The PRESS-LOK closure system is a proprietary hook-to-hook technology. According to Velcro, the closure is unique in the industry because it offers easy alignment that allows consumers to fasten without precise lineup, securing the package with a great burst strength.