Afternoon Coffee: Google Cuts Motorola Jobs, FedEx Hazards, System for Award Management Woes

"Motorola plans to close or consolidate about 30 of its 90 facilities."
Google to Cut 20% of Motorola's Staff -- Google Inc. is cutting about 20% of Motorola Mobility's workforce, a move the company said is designed to return its mobile-devices unit to profitability after it lost money in fourteen of the last sixteen quarters. Motorola will shave 4,000 positions of a total of about 20,000. Two-thirds of the reductions will take place outside the U.S. In addition, Motorola plans to close or consolidate about 30 of its 90 facilities. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will "shift its emphasis from feature phones to more innovative and profitable devices."

"FedEx, which has not responded to the accusations, has 30 days to respond to the FAA."
FedEx accused of improperly handling hazardous material -- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accused FedEx of 'failing to properly document hazardous materials shipments' in August 2010, after it carried several shipments of hazardous cargo across the US. The FAA claim that FedEx 'improperly accepted' the shipments, which were carried between August 2nd and August 12th 2010, in addition to accusing the carrier of failing to give pilots accurate and legible written information regarding hazardous material shipments on a total of 19 flights. Paperwork on several dozen shipments failed to properly describe the nature or amount of material being shipped, according to the regulators.

"...cumbersome, buggy and inflexible."
Contractors skeptical about new procurement system -- The System for Award Management -- or SAM -- finally launched earlier this month after a series of delays. The systems that migrated to the new portal include the Central Contractor Registration, which maintains company data; the Excluded Parties List System, which tracks companies and people suspended or debarred from doing business with federal government; the Federal Agency Registration, used to collect standard data on federal agency buyers and sellers; and the Online Representations and Certifications Application, where contractors essentially confirm that they are qualified to do business with government.

The art and (de)volution...of patent drawings.
The History (And Artistic De-Evolution) of Patent Drawings -- Since the United States Patent & Trade Office opened in 1790, it has required that every patent be accompanied by an illustration depicting the applicant's invention. But in the past 222 years, patent drawings have changed, degrading from detailed works of art to simplistic line drawings that barely qualify as illustrations. Whereas patent drawings from the 1800s and even early- to mid-1900s featured artistic techniques like shading, multiple perspectives and texture, today's patent drawings are often embarrassing doodles at best. We can blame both cultural changes and adjustments in patent application rules. For one, the patent office no longer requires that patent applicants hire an official draftsman to draw an invention. And in 2000, the PTO adjusted its rules to decrease how often applicants need to revise their drawings with corrections.

- Sheena Moore

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