Terms of Use of Alexa Skills

General

This Terms of Use are an agreement between you (the „user”) and Fresco Services LLC (Ellen Krabbe) (“Fresco Services LLC”, “us” or “we”). Before using any of our Alexa Skills (“our skills”), please read this agreement and our Alexa Skills Privacy Policy, as well as the Alexa Terms of Use and the Privacy Policies by the Amazon Digital Services LLC (with its affiliates, “Amazon”).

Regarding Amazon, “Alexa” means their Alexa Voice Service which includes third party services (like our skills) and other related Software.

If you use one of our skills you fully agree to this Terms of Use.

Disclaimer

Our skills or parts of it may discontinue at any time or might contain errors. You use our skills on your own responsibility. Any information should not be seen as advice.

Changes

Our skills or parts of it may change or be updated at any time. Further, our Terms of Use might change. You can find a link to this agreement on the description page of the skill in the Alexa App or in the Alexa Store. Your continued use of our skill after changes of the Terms of Use or the skill itself will be seen as your acceptance of both.

PRIVACY POLICY FOR ALEXA SKILLS

This privacy policy describes how Fresco Services LLC (Ellen Krabbe) (“Fresco Services LLC”, “us” or “we”) protects your (“you”, “the user”) privacy and your data. Before using any of our Alexa Skills (“our skills”), please read this policy and our Alexa Skills Terms of Use, as well as the Alexa Terms of Use and the Privacy Policies by the Amazon Digital Services LLC (with its affiliates, “Amazon”).

Regarding Amazon, “Alexa” means their Alexa Voice Service which includes third party services (like our skills) and other related Software.

If you use one of our skills you fully agree to this privacy policy.

General

When you use our skills you have to talk to Alexa. This voice input is sent to Amazon and us where we use it to understand what our skill should do for you. This is absolutely necessary for our service to give you an appropriate answer.

Data

We never collect or share personal data with our skills.

To improve our services we analyze automatically how often utterances are spoken and other analytics. This is done automatically by Amazon in the Amazon Developer Portal.

For some of our skills it is necessary to save data for you in our databases. This data is only connected to your Alexa-User Id but never to your name or any other personal information.

Changes

Our skills or parts of it may change or be updated at any time. Further, this Privacy Policy might change. You can find a link to this policy on the description page of the skill in the Alexa App or in the Alexa Store. Your continued use of our skill after changes of the Privacy Policy or the skill itself will be seen as your acceptance of both.

What is Behind the Shark Tank Question “Have you got a patent on that?”

The ABC network television show Shark Tank has almost become a standard for entrepreneurs pitching their business to investors. In fact, if you do an Internet search for “Shark Tank lessons” you will get thousands of results for articles with great advice about business development and pitching your business. However, very little time is spent in those articles on what is behind the almost systematic question “Have you got a patent on that?”.

The goal of this article is to present a few thoughts on what the “sharks” know and some assumptions they may make based on the answer to this question.

Here are a few examples of what the sharks know.

  1. If you have a provisional patent application, they know you do not have a patent and you may never get one. Since anyone can file a provisional application on anything, there is no guarantee that they will get a patent unless it meets the requirements for a patent.
  2. They know that a good provisional should meet the requirements of a non-provisional patent application and in preparing it you will have identified the ways in which the product has distinctive differences from competitive products.
  3. They know that you are serious enough about your product and business to seek some protection and competitive advantage.
  4. If you have a patent, they know that your product has been researched, evaluated by several independent sources and recognized as new and different.
  5. They know that with a patent, the product is protected in a way that may make the competition think twice before copying it.
  6. They know that with a patent, they can bring legal action in the case of infringement.
  7. They know that patents improve options for licensing and licensing may be at higher royalty rates.

There are also several things that they might assume.

  1. They assume you are familiar with and recognize the value of having intellectual property assets.
  2. They assume you know your competition and have evaluated the risks.
  3. They assume you have taken advantage of all opportunities in your business development process.
  4. They assume you have made the initial investments needed to acquire long term advantages.
  5. They assume you will gain added value for your product since protected products generally obtain higher sale prices.

I haven’t seen every episode of Shark Tank but most of the entrepreneurs presenting products have at least sought, if not obtained, patent protection.  This should be a warning to those who wish to follow in their footsteps, whether that be in a local, regional, or national pitch events. The question of patent protection should be answered and ideally applications filed before pitching a new product. The question that is posed at the pitch stage of business development needs to have been answered very early in the process.

A professional patent researcher can help you answer many of the questions you may have and prepare you for discussions with a patent attorney.  They can help you identify opportunities or obstacles. Opportunities may be commercial opportunities seen with the review of the competitor landscape and opportunities for patent protection. Obstacles may include technical issues raised in similar patent documents or barriers due to existing competitor patents.

Going from an idea to a successful product is a multi-step process and the best business venture decisions are based on solid market and intellectual property research. You wouldn’t want to later find yourself swimming with sharks without a cage.

Why You Should Care About Intellectual Property

The more you know about your intellectual property, the greater your competitive advantage.  Having a strategy will help you focus on opportunities and avoid obstacles. This article by Mary Juetten is a great summary of what you need to know to get started. 

https://articles.bplans.com/care-intellectual-property/ 

#competitiveadvantage #intellectualproperty #businessdevelopment  #smallbusiness

 

Chinese US-based Innovation: Is the fox in the hen house?

China’s drive to dominate the electric car industry.

On February 24th, 60 Minutes presented a segment about China’s drive to dominate the electric car industry. There were two things that surprised me in that report, the first was the rapidity of change in China and the second was the means China is using to dominate the electric vehicle (EV) industry. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/electric-cars-chinas-drive-to-dominate-the-industry-60-minutes/

So many images we had seen of China were of a backward, government-controlled society. Cary Huang, in the South China Morning Post in a 2018 article entitled How ‘Communist’ China has embraced capitalism but remains Leninist at heart, noted that though the government remains totalitarian, there is a growing middle class that has accepted capitalistic consumerism. In 2015, Tim Worstall wrote an article in Forbes entitled “China’s the most viciously free market economy on the planet right now. In it Worstall noted, “In China you can change what you’re doing and how you’re doing it at something close to lightning speed compared to Europe or the US. And that’s the sense in which I say that it’s a viciously free market place.” 

Concerning the speed of change, 60 Minutes noted that in just 30 years China has gone from uniformed people riding bicycles to modern cities with people driving cars. The government is now promoting electric car ownership to reduce pollution in urban areas. Reduction of pollution is a much-needed change if you have seen the pictures of pollution hanging over China’s cities. The report presented the electric car manufacturer Nio. Their cars are all made to order, in an automated, high-tech factory by an army of robots. The reported noted that with China’s massive manufacturing machine behind it, Nio may be able scale up faster than its foreign competitors.

 It is how China is going about that change that is more of a concern. Nio has a research and development center in San Jose, California and is one of nine EV manufacturers that have set up similar centers on the west coast so that they can entice the best engineers and software developers. Nio has hired more than 600 of them from top US firms. Holly Williams, of 60 Minutes made the comment “Some people would see that as the transfer of American technology to a Chinese company.” The response of the Nio executive was “I don’t see it that way.” She went on to explain that they look at it from a perspective of market and pollution. Since China has the biggest market and the biggest problem of pollution, they consider it taking the best talent pool and changing the world for the better.

One could applaud such lofty goals, if they weren’t associated with one of the most totalitarian regimes on the planet. Cary Huang noted that “China is now ranked very low in indices relating to political freedom, such as in freedom of speech, association and assembly. For instance, last year it ranked 141 out of 159 in the human freedom index, compiled by the Washington-based Cato Institute, and 176 out of 180 in the index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders.

In the last 30 years, China has advanced by sending students to Western Universities and to work in Western companies. Less scrupulous methods have included stealing technology or trade secrets as noted in a plethora of articles on espionage. See for example, the Reuters article UPDATE 5-U.S., allies slam China for economic espionage, spies indicted

It appears that today, the more socially and politically acceptable means for quickly acquiring technology and economic advantage is to set up research centers in countries like the United States to hire the best researchers, engineers and computer programmers. It is a brilliant plan since these people no longer need to go live in China to work for a Chinese company. They don’t need to see the cultural differences or suffer the limitations of freedom. They can think that they are solving a world environmental problem and not that they are giving away knowledge that will further the interests of a foreign state.

Anyone who works in intellectual property knows that China has been patenting at an exponential rate. When American engineers and computer programmers have created patents for their Chinese employer, those patents will surely be used against US competitors in a limited monopoly or required licensing. We need industry specific changes that solve cultural and environmental issues but this report left me with serious questions.

Is the US car industry keeping up with the competition? Isn’t there enough innovation happening in the US to employ the “best and the brightest”? Are Americans being lured to foreign companies by short-term gain? Long-term, how will the American EV industry be affected if Chinese companies receive 20 years of patent protection on new technology? How will US entrepreneurs and innovation centers overcome the challenges of competing with Chinese supported research centers?

RESOURCES

Fresco Publications

Research and Development Model
Overview of Intellectual Property

Other Publications

Model Confidential Disclosure Agreement
Business Model Canvas

Patent Searching Publications

2016-IPO Patent Search Committee-CPC-Pamphlet
2017-IPO Patent Search Committee-Free-Search-Tools-Bulletin
2018-IPO Patent Search Committee-CCD Bulletin
2018-IPO Patent Search Committee-Global DossierBulletin
2018-IPO Patent Search Committee-Public Databases
2019-IPO Patent Search Committe-Patent Searching-The Lens
2019-IPO Patent Search Committee-Patent_Searching-Google_Patents

________________________________________________________________________

Northeastern Wisconsin Entrepreneur Resources

The follow is not an exhaustive list of resources available in the region, however it includes organizations that we recommend for their commitment to entrepreneurs and to quality services.

Patent Attorneys

Bendel IP Legal LLC
Northwind IP Law, SC

Entrepreneur Training

Appleton – FVTC – E-Seed Program
Fond du Lar – Moraine Park Technical College – Entrepreneurship
Green Bay – NWTC – Small business initiative
Oshkosh – FVTC – E-Seed Program

Mentoring

Green Bay Packers Mentor Protégé Program
SCORE Fox Cities

Prototyping

Fab Lab – Bordini Center, Appleton
Idea Studio – Fond du Lac Public Library

TESTIMONIALS

Jarrett Kellan – Kellan Home & Window LLC Appleton WI •
Home Window Service
“I had an idea for an invention and didn’t know what to do with it. Ellen worked with me on a step-by-step process to determine the viability of the invention, and also taught me the entire process of taking an idea and turning it into something real. She also helped find a patent law firm to write and file my patent application. My invention is currently submitted and is patent pending! I can’t imagine how I would have done any of this without her help. I would highly recommend her for anyone who has an idea for a possible patent.”

Carrie Drephal – JCD Promotions, LLC Chaska MN • Web Designer
“Intellectual property is an important part of any business and if you want to make sure your business has all your details in order, Ellen is the best person to discuss it with you. Her knowledge of patents, intellectual property and how it affects business is top notch.”

Ken Kubicek – Patent Information Users Group, Inc. Newark DE
“Ellen is a member of PIUG and is an experienced, qualified search professional.”

Dennis Allar – Allar Enterprises, LLC  Sherwood WI
“Ellen is an expert in her field as I learned in a training session with her. Incredible knowledgeable I would recommend her to others as I will use her skills as needed.”

Jim O’Neil – Topline Results Corporation Pewaukee WI
Software Company
“Ellen has spoken at a couple events I have attended. She has a clear and concise way of explaining the steps to protect your IP assets. Larger companies may have a team in place that understand patent law and research but for any entrepreneur or smaller org trying to do a product launch, working through the details with Ellen can save them big headaches later on.”

ARCHIVES

Find all of our posts here.

Start Small, Dream Big

Apple is a great of example of starting small, dreaming big, and scaling fast without losing control. It took many Fortune 100 companies 20, 30, 40 or more years to get where they are. Most did it with a solid patent portfolio based on serious research.

Contact us for assistance in getting your dream to reality.