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Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Why do we have to follow them?

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  • #69396

    Jaran S.
    Participant

    A. The copyright licence of the course material belongs to the one who
         writes it. It is illegal to reproduce the material.
          But you can use and implement by yourselve without asking for any
          permission. Then you should feel free to use and apply Six Sigma.
          You can write the material yourselve. The problem is only it is not
          easy to write a good the course material by your own.
          If you can do, it is great.
    B.   You can certify the staff by organization. No one can prohibit you
           to do that.
    Jaran S.

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    #28024

    Yadav
    Participant

    Friends,
    My queries are as follows:
    a)Why are the liscences for Six Sigma liscencing (course material) so over-priced? Suppose I want to start a practice, why do I have to liscence someone elses material, when I can prepare my own? Is there any legal angle to this? As in, will I be penalized if I go in for the same?
    b)Secondly, can an organization go in for consulting, training and certification on its own. We do not have the kind of funds to pay the exorbidant liscence fees that guys are charging? See, there is NO central body governing Six Sigma, so why should there be any issues?
     
    Kindly advice,
    Ajay 

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    #69401

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    First let’s look at your language. Over priced and exhorbitant. These represent a measurement scale. Your measurement scale. If they are priced and selling at a price perhaps the problem is with your measurement system.
    The second issue is Intellectual property. Some things belong to some groups. If you violate copyright law you will get sued. Breyfogle and Pyzdek are in the middle of this with Mikel Harry (or at least were). When I owned Six Sigma International we had our own battle over IP. It is expensive – even if you win. FYI the term Six Sigma does belong to Motorola.
    The biggest issue is the traditional view that training is an expense. If you still believe this you are not ready to do SS. It is an investment in your personnel. You calculate Return on Investment just like you do any other business investment. If it meets the investment criteria for your company you could find that your subjective criteria for measurement is the paradigm of your which is holding your company back.

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    #69410

    Yadav
    Participant

    Dear Jaran, let me paraphrase my queries.
    a) If we make slight tweaks and modify the material, can we train others using that? Legally, will that be copyright infringement?
    b) Can we give both the certificates, the certificate of training and the certificate of competence?
    c)Could you provide me your email. You could mail me at [email protected]
     
    hoping to hear from you soon,
    Ajay

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    #69412

    Yadav
    Participant

    Dear Mike,
    It seems like a raw nerve was touched there. Firstly, just because there are guys paying such fees, doesn’t necessarily mean that its the RIGHT price. I mean absolutely no disrespect, but then an organization can only sue if another firm has sold their material. To the best of my knowledge, using anothers altered material for training, doesnt come under copyright infringement.
    Also, eventually it is what you deliver. Once Six Sigma acheives its true potential, the fees will come down. So, why should anyone pay? Lets look at the issue from a consultancies point of view. If a consultancy wants to offer six sigma in its basket of offerings, can it do the following:
    a) Make its own material from the material of 10 other guys?
    b) Offer its own certificates, both of training and of competency? I mean , its not like CMM or COPC or ISO, where you have SEI and COPC as the governing body. Anyone can award such certifications, cant they?
    c) Six sigma can always be altered to Six Sigma Bonus or Plus…or something like that.
     
    Looking forward to hearing from you…
    Ajay

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    #69426

    AnnoymousMBB
    Participant

    Ajay –
    Copyright infringement applies if you make copies beyond what is considered “fair use” for ANY purpose, even internal use only.  If the organization or person who’s materials you “tweak” sells training or consulting services, then the damages will be the easy for them to calculate and claim when you lose at the trial. If you are a small enough or remote enough firm, you may get away with it, but don’t count on it.  
    “Fair use” means you can quote brief exerpts in reviews or evaluation documents, that you can make limited (very small number- usually one) copies of electronic materials for archive purposes, that you may place a copy in a library or on a central repository to be consulted by numerous employees. Fair use does not mean that you can change a few names and numbers in the case studies or examples and use it as if you compiled the course materials yourself .
    My employer paid Six Sigma Academy a high six-figure fee to have their BB training course “customized” for our organization.  I personally think they over-paid, but hey, they got smarter and are having their internal experts develop the Design for 6 Sigma and Green Belt training course.  Earlier comments that good courses are not easy to develop are very on-target.  You need a small team with both course-development skills and a wide range of expert-level subject matter knowledge. (Not just statistics, just project or program management, just QC, just measurement system ananlysis, just presentation skills, just …..)  All those people are smart enough to recognize that the expert-level skills they have are relatively rare and therefore valuable – and we all expect to be paid for our efforts.
    On the other hand, doing the research needed to develop a course form a wide variety of published materials that is designed to fit your organization is the best possible way to go.  That way you tailor the presentation and examples to the level of your target audience and to your industry.   This is not especially quick or especially cheap, but it is the best way to proceed, and likely to return the highest level on your investment.

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    #69430

    Angry author
    Participant

    If you copied my material and made slight tweeks and I found out, I’d have you sued in any court I could find. And since the material is mine and I earn a living from it, the damages would be substantial.
    Anytime anyone writes anything down in any format it immediately and automatically become the copyright property of the originator. Any unauthorised copying or plagiarism is THEFT.
    Just try photocopying dollar bills and handing them out to see what can happen.

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    #69446

    Yadav
    Participant

    Hi!
    See. firstly, I am not talking from a clients side, but from a consultants side. The price quotes for liscencing that we have received have gone up to as much as 350000 dollars!!!! Thats ridiculous,to say the least.
    All the more when we can use 10 materials, and modify them, adapt them , use our own examples and the make our own training material. Thats possible, isn’t it?
    Also, once we become established, we can always give our own Certificate of training. Thats possible too, isn’t it?
     
    Do reply,
    with warm regards,
    Ajay

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    #69450

    Edwards
    Participant

    I agree, these people are happy to sell us their text books, and we are happy to buy and use them to implement 6s. Therefore if we use them to implement and train BB’s that is what we bought them for. What do they think people are using their books for? It is common for small to medium companies to ask their MBB to put together a training  programmes, how do you think they do it? there is no point in re-inventing the wheel.
    Regards,
    David
     

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    #69455

    AnnonymousMBB
    Participant

    Ajay – If you use small amounts of material from multiple published (not sent as part of a quotation package for your review) sources to compile your own 6 Sigma training materials, that is called “research”, and is completely legal and ethical. This is the path that has been hurriedly taken by many of the organizations you will find described in this forum as “6 Sigma opportunists/ academics” – some of whom are no doubt quoting to your request.
    If you use large amounts of materials from one or few sources, or use material from unpublished sources without permission, that is called plagarism, or theft of intellectual property.  What you described in your initial post; “changing a few details” of some (implied single) program; is plagiarism. 
    Using 10 sources or more, supplying your own examples from your own industry or business, and developing in-house what fits your organizations’ culture and 6 Sigma application strategy is the best possible way to go, in my opinion. Just don’t expect it to take less than 6 months minimum, or to require less than 3-4 subject matter experts who among them cover course/curriculum design, quality and statistics applications and  team leadership/project management.  Since people with those skills all make at least $100k / year in my local labor market (much more with benefits), I don’t perceive $350k as unreasonable for training that fits your organization.  And please don’t forget that someone will have to deliver the training – not all course developers make good teachers. Depending on how many people you plan to train and to what level, you should be getting either full delivery of training, or an adequate “train the internal trainers” effort from the consultants for your $350k. 
     I hope this helps. 
     

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    #69499

    Annonymous MBB
    Participant

    Ajay –
    Ahh – I missed the crucial first line of your second post.  You are a consultant who wishes to license some person or organization’s already developed 6 Sigma materials in order to re-sell them to your clients.  Presumably these are either clients with whom you have an existing relationship, or you and your potential clients are geographically or organizationally remote from the groups who’s material you seek to license.  Ie. you’ve done a market study of some sort and have reason to believe that you can sell 6 Sigma training and/or consulting services and the organization who’s material you wish to license does not wish to pursue those opportunities at this time.
    This is even more a case of the “value” of intellectual property rights.  The question you need to answer is “Can I make more money re-selling this other organizations’ material, with it’s associated licensing fees and “brand recognition” than I can by developing my own material that covers more or less the same ground, or by buying copies (wholesale!) of already-compiled and published textbooks?”   Part of the reason that many big-name 6 Sigma consultants charge so much is so that the top management of their client firms will take the issue seriously enough to pay attention.  This provides a great opportunity to collect LOTS of money for relatively little new knowledge and/or work.  If you want to leverage somebody else’s trademarked / copyrighted / popular brand , you have to pay them for the privilege.   If you want to sell T shirts with Disney characters on them – you have to pay Disney for the rights to use their characters — and it’s NOT cheap.  But  you will sell more T shirts, and at a higher price than for those with generic small, cute animals on them. 
    For what it’s worth, Disney is one of the fiercest defenders of their intellectual property rights, which is, from the licensers’ point of view, one of the things that makes buying the license worthwhile.
     
     
     
     

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    #69549

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Yes you did touch a nerve. First in the past the model for pricing your product was you looked at your cost, added your desired margin an that gave you your cost. Today the price is set in the market place. The internet has created a world wide market so it isn’t like anyone can nail dow some little piece of the world. It levels out the price.
    I had people in the Indian market (96-97) for two years becuase we saw it as a good technical market. Same story everyone wanted to dis cuss lowering the price. That was not my problem and still is not. If some one want s to give you adollar for your product and someone wants to give you $10 you sell it where it is getting the best price.
    As far as reults go I have guaranteed 200% ROI in the past and never refunded anyones money. There isn’t a single SS consultant out there who wouldn’t be willing to do a deployment for a % of saving.  Typically training is viewed as an expense rather than an investment in the human resources of the company. This mentality doesn’t work.
    The people like Welch and Bossidy and Galvin didn’t dicker of price like they were buying pencils. They understood the value of the deployment and evaluated it like the do any other investment.
    Writing your own material is not a new secision to make. It is amake buy decision. You cannot write it for what it will cost you to write it. Most of the experienced consulting companies have material which has been developed over multiple waves at multiple companies.Typically by very experienced practiotioners. Anther mistake many people make when they think they write their own material is that just because they understand  a quality tool or two they can write it. The audience are adults. You need people with experience writing material for adults. On the surface it looks very simple but writing good material is very complex.
    Let me explain the US jurisprudence system to you. You do not have to do anything wrong to be sued. It is a long process and if you do not have the cash (attorneys in IP – one of the fastest growing parts of law – work on contingency) you don’t get to play long. An IP lawsuit will go to six figures before you even get to trial.
    If you want to see how easy this is to get into trouble on – look at any document you have written the words Six Sigma on. If you did not place the “TM” mark following it and credit Motorola with ownership you can be sued. Six Sigma Academy has or had filed for ownership of the term Black Belt and Master Black Belt. If it is awarded it will be the same issue. Being inocent has nothing to do with someone suing you.

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    #69550

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    I agree with your second statement with some reservation. If Six Sigma Academy is successful in gaining ownership of some of these words you cannot dot the cert.
    Unless you are an attorney – and because of the nature of your answer you are not or at least are not an IP attorney – this advice could walk you into trouble just look at the emotion in the response from “author” and me. Before you start messing around with someones material have an IP attorney check it out. One of these law suits will cost you a lot of money.

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    #69551

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    If you are from the consulting side and do not understand market price for material, copyright law, or the amount of effort it takes to deliver good material you might want to consider a different line of work.

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    #69552

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    This is one of your better responses. Regardless of the number of sources you use – if you lift somebody elses material and use it for your own profit you will loose that lawsuit.
    There are things which cannot be copyrighted and those are math formulas and ideas. Motorola owns the term Six Sigma and they have a trademark with the interlocking Six and Sigma which is theirs. They have chosen not to enforce their rights on the words. If you were to do something with the interlocking six and sigma you might see a different attitude.
    There is more to this than copyright. There is Trademark, Service mark, etc. you have to cover it all.
    When your done you can add it up and find out if you have any money left in the cigar box. 

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    #69553

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    If it was only 6 figures you were on the low end.

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    #69556

    legally anon
    Participant

    Dear everyone who firmly believes that the phrase “Six Sigma” is somehow owned by someone else and that we either have to wisper it or pay Motorola each time we write or speak it.
    Copyright
    An immediate and universal protection for any created and recorded work. It does not have to be registered, but it does not protect ideas, only the way in which the idea is expressed in a piece of work. Six Sigma as a philosophy, metric, idea, or a methodology cannot be copyrighted.
    Patent
    A registered and territorial grant to an inventor to have sole right to use and profit from a new and novel idea, typically with regard to a product or a process of manufacture. Discoveries, scientific theories or mathematical methods, methodologies or any copyrightable material cannot be patented.
    Trade mark
    A sign or mark that can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. It is a marketing tool, and trademarks need to be distinctive and not deceptive or misleading. It operates territorially and in respect to a limited range of types of goods and services. It is not possible to register ‘Six Sigma’ as a trademark against goods and services you do not sell. Infringement must show use by a third party of a similar or identical mark, for similar goods and services, and where the public is likely to be confused by the similar mark.
    Motorola have Six Sigma registered, for the purpose of training in quality within the field of electronic manufacture. Anyone else in the USA who attempts to sell training in quality for electronic manufacture, using the words ‘Six Sigma’ to describe the product or service sold may indeed have problems. However – this only works within the USA, and for training for quality, and where the term Six Sigma is used against the training product or service.
    Where Six Sigma is legitimately trademarked, anyone else must either not use it in trade of similar goods/services, or must obtain a licence from the owner of the mark. It is not good enough to say ‘trade mark ownership lies with Motorola’ if you have not obtained licence for use from Motorola. On the other hand, six sigma is a metric, and no one is going to be able to protect ‘six feet’ as a trade mark every time anyone asks for a grave ‘six feet’ down (six feet is a registered trademark of …)
    Six Sigma is a methodology – and any training for the purpose of learning about Six Sigma is going to have to describe it as for (the) Six Sigma (methodology). The use of the term ‘Six Sigma’ does not necessarily associate against the product or service offered (the training) as opposed to the aim of the product or service (the methodology). This makes the registration of such phrases as ‘Bodybuilding’ interesting. Our product is the ‘bodybuilding’ ™ product, fine, however the rest of the planet still goes to bodybuilding (not ™) classes.
    In short – no one owns the phrase ‘Six Sigma’. It is not copyright, and never can be. It is not patented, and the application of trademarks will certainly not prevent anyone else legally using the phrase.
    As Motorola have already found out.
    This discussion is the personal opinion of anonymous, and the responsibility for any action or such consequence as taken by the reader is entirely your matter not mine. You are advised that the value of your portfolio may go up or down and I simply don’t want to know.
    PS MJH is currently attempting to register the trademark ‘Six Sigma’ for the sale of wines – is this a hint as to his retirement plans?

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    #69589

    Norbert cMBB
    Participant

    There is a official trademark for the term “SIX SIGMA” in Germany (registered in the patent office in Munich in 2000). The use of the term “SIX SIGMA” for Germany is owned by a private “single-fighter” consulting company which tries to get licence fees from anyone who uses the term in best practice conferences etc… :-((

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    #69598

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    I am not sure where your sources are or if you are an attorney. I have been involved in some of the early lawsuites around this issue. I do not believe you interpretation is entirely accurate in practice.
    The bottom line is for many of us in this conversation, we are jail house lawyers. The only positive way to protect yourself is to get an IP attorney and have the specific instance you are concerned about reviewed.
    Even if you are prefectly legal you can still have someone file suite.

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    #69604

    legally anon
    Participant

    No I am not an attorney. Neither do I live in the USA – and I express my sympathy to you in having to live in a country where is it possible to conduct damaging legal proceedings against clearly innocent parties. In other parts of the world the legal system is a little more rigid, particularly in regard to IP. This is entirely to the benefit of Six Sigma outside the USA. Since copyright and patent are not possible for an idea, metric or a methodology, the only route left open is to trademark Six Sigma. Whilst the USA is busy looking over shoulders in case of litigation, the rest of the world is realising that Six Sigma cannot be trademarked, and (for the most part) getting on with using it. Since most enquiries regarding this are now coming from Europe, India and the Far East, the peculiarities of the USA legal system are no longer a sound model on which to proceed. Remember too that trademark registration is local to the country – it may be registered in the USA, but not elsewhere.
    There is a basic premise in (generic) law that it should be impossible to prevent a ‘man’ from working and earning a living. This applies to trademarks too, and a basic exclusion for the grant of a trade mark is where it is a phrase already in common use, and in particular, where a person engaged in legitimate business might reasonably expect to use the phrase/mark as part of their general trade. The registrant of the mark ‘Six Sigma’ in Germany could rightly be challenged and the registration perhaps reversed.
    Due to the wonders of the Internet, it is now possible to locate and examine many government sites on IP around the world. Here are a few examples…
    General USA information on copyright, patent and trademarks (use the search on this site to list all registrations of Six Sigma – makes interesting reading)
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm
    More specific information on registration of trademarks – and reasons for refusal.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/tmep/1100.htm
    Information of registration of Six Sigma in Canada (!) Does MJH really sell Six Sigma wine?
    http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/1102/trdp110256400e.html
    For those in the UK and Europe (and other countries where the legal system is more closely attuned to ‘British Law’) the following site gives excellent information.
    http://www.patent.gov.uk/tm/index.htm
    And finally:
    “The following shall not be registered…
    (d) trade marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of the trade…”
    UK Trade Mark Act 1994
    M’lud, I rest my case.

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