Guest Columnist - Internet Company Research: A Client Seminar

By Carol Bannen, Published on February 7, 2006

In conjunction with Tim Muth, one of our litigation partners, I made a presentation to a gathering of our firm's clients on the topic of "Business Use of the Internet." Tim spoke on "The Law of Cyberspace: Legal Issues Surrounding Use of the Internet." I then reviewed our firm homepage at http://www.rbvdnr.com pointing out that not only does it have information about the firm, but it also links to the best legal and business sites on the Internet. There are general sites and subject specific sites under each area of law. The fim's Information Resource Center also has a monthly newsletter on the homepage called "Tips and Tricks on the Internet." It reviews new and helpful Internet sites and searching techniques. The newsletter also gets indexed under "Hot Tips."

I also reviewed a number of "Favorite Business Sources on the Internet." I highlighted a number of them in my case study but also mentioned a number of other sites they may want to visit. See the attached listing of sources.

A case study was the next part of the presentation. I located information that is available on the Internet on Harley-Davidson, a local Milwaukee company of interest to the audience. I used the WebCrawler search engine which produced a list of useful sites. We first visited the Harley-Davidson homepage at http://www.harley-davidson.com/. We found the Harley Owner Group or HOGs as they are known athttp://magicnet.net/mni/hog.html. They also have a bulletin board for stolen Harleys. I found an article from the Electronic Commerce Resource Center at http://www.ecrc.ctc.com/ discussing how Harley-Davidson is using new technology. Motorcycle Online at http://www.harleydealer.com/97_bikes/97bikes.html gives all the current information on the 1996 Harley-Davidsons. I found a history of the company on video available for $29.95.

In searching Edgar at http://www.sec.gov we found over 21 documents including the latest 10-Q and proxy statement for Harley-Davidson. These documents provided financial statements and information on the owners of the company and their compensation. I also found information in these reports comparing Harley to the S&P Midcap 400 and S&P 500. Visiting Security APL Quote Server at http://www.secapl.com/cgi-bin/qs gave us current stock quotes. In the Security APL Market Watch we located the S&P figures and NASDAQ composite information. A number of other indexes are also available at this site. At http://www.hoovers.com I found an entire investors report on the Harley company. Accutrade at http://www.money.com had a one year graph showing the stock fluctuations at a glance.

We then moved on to the motorcycle industry in general. The U.S. Industrial Outlook (no longer published) at http://:www-lib.iupui.edu/ecollects/usind.html had a report on the industry including trends, forecasts, shipments and more. The National Trade Databank at http://www.stat-usa.gov included a number of reports from the Bureau of Census and on motorcycle pollution regulations in the European Union. Imports and exports were also included. I searched for patent abstracts that Harley had filed at http://patents.cnidr.org/access/access.html and found over 140 since 1976. Using the Federal Register for 1996 at http://thorplus.lib.purdue.edu/gpo/, a search for motorcycle retrieved 39 relevant documents. At the same site, we also searched the U.S. Code for laws relating to motorcycles which resulted in 21 hits. Using the Congressional site called Thomas at http://thomas.loc.gov, we located 36 House and Senate bills as well as related information. We then moved to Wisconsin and searched the state budget bill and found six sections dealing with motorcycles at http://badger.state.wi.us/. Census Data from the Statistical Abstract provided us the number of motorcycle registrations by state at http://www.census.gov/.

After this deluge of information about Harley-Davidson, I moved on to a few more of my favorites sites including the IRS homepage at http://www.fedworld.gov/taxsear.htm for tax returns and Consumer Price Index at http://stats.bls.gov/labstat.htm. I also mentioned the World Bank at http://www.worldbank.org, Banking on the World Wide Web at http://www.wiso.gwdg.de/ifbg/banking.html and World Factbook with specific country information at http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/95fact/index.html . ISO 900 information can be found at http://www.iso.ch/. Current information can be found at the Omnivore athttp://way.net/omnivore/. This includes the Wall Street Journal at http://update.wsj.com/ and New York Times at http://nytimesfax.com/cgi-bin/tmp/login/.

I finished up by saying there is a great deal of other information available on the commercial databases such as trademarks, patents, newspaper articles, background of owners, property records, PeopleFinder, banks/accountants/lawyers for companies, Dun & Bradstreet Credit Reports, Secretary of State information concerning where companies have been incorporated, CERCLA pollution sites/storage tank listings and clipping services.

We ended with a listing of Milwaukee Custard Stand flavors for the week and the offer of free searching in the Information Resource Center and firm Training Center located on the upper floor of the IRC. I gave information on the Information Resource Center staff being available to help clients with all of their research needs and gave out my e-mail address. We had a number of people stay and do searching and have had several calls since with research questions.

Favorite Business Sources On the Internet

By Carol Bannen, Manager Information Resources

Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, Norris & Rieselbach, S.C.


Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, Norris & Rieselbach, S.C. Home Page


National Trade Data Bank: Information on exporting, background on various countries, licensing, investment, tariffs and more. Costs $150 per year $50 per quarter.


Business Information Server: The Dun and Bradstreet business servers has articles on marketing your business globally and a series of tutorials to help the small business owner.


Commerce Business Daily: Update daily, this publication announces invitations to bid on proposals requested by the U.S. Government. It is now on a subscription basis.


Currency Converter: Koblas Currency Converter lets you select the desired country and all other countries' currencies will be converted relative to the one you selected.


Banking on the WWW-Banks of the World


Mortgage Calculator: enter the buying price, interest rate and a few other fields and the computer will give you a fully amortized schedule.


Security APL Quote Server: States the current S&P 500 Index and offers a graphical representation of the Down Jones Industrial Average and daily volume at the NYSE. Updated every 15 minutes. You also can search individual stocks.


Hoover's Online: gives company profiles on 10,000 companies.


World Bank: A wealth of economic and social data


SIC Codes: Standard Industrial Classification Codes


World Factbook by the CIA: Country information on each country in the world.


International Organization for Standardization: ISO, publication lists and FAQ's


QuoteCom: S&P Stock Guide Reports $1.50. 5 quotes per day free.


GNN Personal Finance Center: Index to investment resources on the Net.


Cambridge Interactive Financial Information


National Business Resources: MBINets


HBG Financial Markets:


Financial Tipster: The primary focus is on law and money


Government Sources

Federal Web Locator: from Villanova. One of the most comprehensive lists of links to the federal government.


FedWorld: Access to over 120 government agencies


CommerceNet: Business information and business opportunities


EDGAR: Search for SEC filings by topic or company


U.S. Department of State: Treaties, travel information, trade issues, press briefings


The White House: Hear Socks the cat meow


Small Business Administration Online: many publications are online.


Census-BEA Electronic Forum: Population stats, Statistical Abstract, County/City Databook


Tax Returns: Copies of all the IRS forms, you need to download using TIFF, PostScript or Adobe Portable Document Format. http://www.fedworld.gov/taxsear.htm

Consumer Price Index


STAT-USA: A giant information service providing economic, business and social/environmental program data produced by more than 50 federal sources; fee subscription.


THOMAS: Legislative information, House and Senate Bills and more


Federal Register Daily Table of Contents

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GPO Online Access: has Federal Register, Congressional Record, Congressional Bills, all searchable.


U.S. Postal Service Zip+4 Lookup



AT&T 800 Directory: On-line commercial sites searchable.


White Pages online


Yellow pages


Yahoo: Invaluable source of both legal and non-legal materials on the Web


All-in-One Internet Search: Incorporates all of the search engines into one page


Internet Business Resources: A collection of good starting points for exploring the resources


Wisconsin Badger


Daily News and Information (The Omnivore)


Wall Street Journal


New York Times


METAOHRCV-State of Wisconsin Classified Civil Service listings


Online Career Center: A database of help-wanted ads that can be sorted by job type, geography etc.