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Shwheelz avatar image
Shwheelz asked

How do I avoid failing certification due to Intellectual Property Rights?

I made every attempt to submit my first skill by the end of April to get the t-shirt promo, but my skill failed 4 times due solely to naming conventions. I created a game, "Pokemon Trivia", and it was (understandably) rejected due to IP concerns. The feedback suggested I use the word "for" to let users know I created a skill "for" Pokemon and not "by" Pokemon. So I did. I changed my skill's name, invocation, and welcome message to "Trivia for Pokemon." I tested and submitted. Several days later, I got certification feedback saying my skill had failed because it didn't work. Again I tested, confirmed that it did indeed work, and resubmitted with a note. Several days after that, I got more feedback saying that my skill had failed because a session wasn't always started as expected, probably because of the "for" keyword. Amazon directly suggested that I change my invocation to "pokemon trivia", so I did. This morning, I received feedback reiterating that I'm violating IP rights. So I have two questions. 1. Has anyone found a reasonable solution to avoiding IP concerns? I really want to make Pokemon skills -- not just a simple out-of-the-box trivia game, but more advanced skills in the future. I need help creating legal naming conventions that still make sense for the user to invoke. 2. Why is Amazon telling me to do these things if they're destined to fail? Is the review process inconsistent to the point where different reviewers have different opinions on what should pass / fail? Or do skills go through waves of review... maybe IP first, then it gets passed off to invocations, then maybe a coding review?
alexa skills kitsubmission testing certification
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1 Answer

jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
>Is the review process inconsistent to the point where different reviewers have different opinions on what should pass / fail? Yes. This is widely complained about. I did an analysis back in December where I submitted the identical skill four times in a row and charted the different responses. They have taken action since then. And the results are lot more consistent. Unfortunately they did not make the rules any less subjective or vague, or add in senior supervision over junior certifiers. So they have traded the drawback of randomness for that of confirmation bias. I.e. once someone decides that your skill is wrong for some reason (say, because they don't know that F-flat is E), you will keep getting that answer until you rant and rave in a public place about it. Now, for your case, I don't think the problem, so much, is your invocation phrase. I'm sure you could find a way to phrase it that would be OK. (I.e. I use "Tweet Poll" for my political polling engine driven by IBM Insights for Twitter.) I think the bigger problem is that every single Pokemon name is trademarked, and your use of these is intrinsic to your skill. There really isn't any getting around that. What you need to do, is see if Pokemon has a "acceptable use" document somewhere. Often people with IP with a large fan base don't want to stifle fan expression, although they do want to constrain use so avoid diluting their brand's value. See if they have something like this. Or find some other similar site that uses their IP and see if they refer to such a document or what language they use to say "We've have permission to do this." Big companies are pretty persnickety about legal rights and all that. When it comes down to it, someone looking to gouge someone is not going to go after you, they are going to go after Amazon.
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