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Washington Technology Center awards $499,938 in research funding

Five companies are awarded state funding for innovative commercial technology applications developed in partnership with Washington researchers.

Grant winners for July 2007 are Artemisia BioMedical, Inc., of Newcastle; dTEC Systems, LLC, of Seattle; Hummingbird Scientific, of Lacey; Kronos Air Technologies, of Redmond; and Magic Wheels, of Seattle. Winning proposals outlined breakthrough research in biotechnology, materials science, defense and security, and microelectronics.

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"Washington's economy is driven by creativity and innovation," said Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in support of this year's award winners. "And these companies are at the forefront of our effort to build the next Washington. Congratulations to each of you."

Washington Technology Center competitively awards around $1 million in state funding annually as part of the Research and Technology Development program. State funding enables collaboration between companies and non-profit research institutions on technology projects that show strong potential for commercializing products and creating jobs. Since 1996, the state has funded 309 Research and Technology Development projects.

This round of funding is projected to generate more than 200 full-time technology jobs in Washington during the next five years. Washington Technology Center estimates that through its work with entrepreneurs, more than 7,000 new technology jobs have been created in Washington state, many of these from grant award recipients. New project funding is awarded twice annually.

This round of projects addresses a wide range of innovation:

Artemisia BioMedical, a privately-held biotechnology company based in Newcastle, Washington, has teamed with University of Washington researchers Tomikazu Sasaki, Narendra Singh and Henry Lai to develop improved therapeutic treatment options for cancer and other serious diseases. Research and Technology Development funding: $100,000.

Seattle-based dTEC Systems, a developer of environmental monitoring systems, has teamed with University of Washington Chemical Engineering researcher Samson A. Jenekhe to develop a novel low-cost chemical sensor technology for on-site environmental applications. Research and Technology Development funding: $100,000.

Hummingbird Scientific, a Lacey, Washington-based developer of microscopy solutions, has teamed with University of Washington electrical engineering researcher Karl Böhringer to develop an improved high temperature heating element for use in the transmission electron microscope – a development that will lead to scientific advancements across a range of scientific fields. Research and Technology Development funding: $100,000.

Kronos Air Technologies, a Redmond-based developer of air movement and purification products, has teamed with University of Washington electrical engineering researcher Alexander V. Mamishev to develop a novel, energy-efficient electrostatic air pump that addresses the problem of thermal management in microelectronics. Research and Technology Development funding: $100,000.

MagicWheels Inc., a Seattle-based maker of a patented, two-gear manual wheelchair wheel, has teamed with University of Washington materials science and engineering researcher Brian Flinn to provide mechanical, endurance and environmental testing for a cost-effective wheel manufacturing process that will benefit wheelchair users. Research and Technology Development funding: $99,938.

Washington Technology Center’s Research and Technology Development grants have proved effective in helping Washington companies and researchers transition novel technologies from “good ideas” into commercially-viable ventures. Annual follow-up surveys show that assisted companies have been successful in leveraging these grants into more than $400 million in additional funding.

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  • Research and Technology Development program

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  • Proposals for Research and Technology Development funding due Oct. 18, 2007

    WTC competitively awards around $1 million annually to applied research projects that show strong potential for generating long-term economic impact in Washington state.

    Related WTC links:

  • Research and Technology Development program

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  • Washington Technology Center Announces Officers for Board of Directors

    Washington Technology Center announces that Robin Halliday of Bellingham has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors for Washington Technology Center. Hal Dengerink of Vancouver has been elected to the position of Vice Chair.

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    Washington Technology Center’s Board of Directors is comprised of business and academic leaders appointed by the Governor of Washington. The board serves as the governing arm of the state-charted agency, which promotes technology and innovation-based economic development throughout Washington.

    “It has been a privilege to serve on the WTC board for the last five years and I am looking forward to this leadership role with our board and the WTC management team,” says Ms. Halliday.

    Ms. Halliday has served on the Washington Technology Center Board of Directors since August 2002. She has more than 25 years of senior management and project management experience in small technology companies. She retired at the end of 2006 after 25 years with DIS Corporation, the leading provider of business systems to agricultural and construction equipment companies in North America. She most recently managed as Vice President of Network Services and continues to serve on their Board of Directors. From 2001 to 2006, she was CEO of Rivetek, a network services subsidiary of DIS. She was founding president and currently serves as President of TAG (Technology Alliance Group), a trade organization for technology companies in Northwest Washington. Halliday is a Rotarian and serves on a number of other education and technology focused boards including Junior Achievement, Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University. She is also President of the Bellingham Whatcom County Public Facilities District. Ms. Halliday is a graduate of the University of Washington and has a post-graduate degree from Western Washington University.

    Hal Dengerink serves as Chancellor of Washington State University Vancouver and as Special Assistant to the President of Washington State University. Chancellor Dengerink serves as the chief administrative officer for WSU Vancouver providing overall leadership and guiding campus growth. With his additional appointment to the President, Dr. Dengerink examines and recommends policy strategies and structural changes to the evolving WSU multi-campus university system. Prior to joining WSU Vancouver in 1989, Chancellor Dengerink previously served as associate dean of the then named WSU College of Sciences and Arts and as director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program, both in Pullman. He joined the WSU psychology faculty in 1969. Dr. Dengerink is active in the Vancouver community, serving currently on the Board of Trustees of Southwest Washington Hospitals and Clark United Providers, the Board of Directors of Columbia River Economic Development Council, the Board of Directors of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemorative Committee and as Co-Chair on the Columbia River Crossing Task Force. Chancellor Dengerink holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Kent State University, all in psychology.

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  • Board member biographies

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  • 2007 Tech Summit brought together the region's technology leaders

    Regional leaders explored emerging technologies in energy, life sciences and wireless & telecommunications.

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  • More in Seattle P-I

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  • Visit the Summit Web site

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  • Angel investments are fueling Pacific Northwest energy sector

    The Northwest Energy Angels™ accelerates energy investment in the region with seven deals funded in first half of 2007.

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  • More in Sustainable Industries

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  • Bellingham Angel Group has funded seven companies

    The group's 35 investors have funded Audience-Central, Local Cents, Mail Channels, MicroGREEN Polymers, Novinium, Sweet Power and Yapta.

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    Graham Evans joins WTC as Director of Research & Program Operations


    Graham Evans has joined Washington Technology Center as Director of Research and Program Operations. In this role, Mr. Evans will be overseeing execution of Washington Technology Center’s projects and initiatives in support of entrepreneurs and communities across Washington state.

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    Mr. Evans has more than 30 years experience advising a wide range of organizations. His early career spanned railroads, tire manufacture, steel and shipbuilding. Following that he was a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (formerly Coopers & Lybrand) initially in the U.K. and since 1996 in the U.S.A. During his career he has advised senior management in many sectors including electric utilities, fast moving consumer goods, high tech, government agencies and higher education. He was the Interim Director of the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative during 2003. His consulting clients include AEP (American Electric Power), enterpriseSeattle, Puget Sound Regional Council, Lucent Technologies, National Grid, PacifiCorp, Scottish Power, Seattle City Light, Symbol Technologies, the UK Gas Regulator, and the US Forest Service.

    Mr. Evans is a board member of the British American Business Council of the Pacific Northwest, a member of the Executive Network of Seattle and a Senator of Junior Chamber International.

    Mr. Evans holds an M.S. in Operational Research from the University of Hull, England and a B.Sc. in Physics, Mathematics and Economics from the University of Sussex, England.

    In addition to his role with Washington Technology Center, Mr. Evans serves as Executive Director of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance, a business alliance for clean technology organizations in the state of Washington.

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    UW Professor Maynard Olson wins $500,000 genetics prize

    Olson, of the University of Washington Genome Center, conducts research from the Washington Technology Center building in Seattle.

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  • More in Seattle Times

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  • Increasing Value and Minimizing Risks with Intellectual Property Rights

    Intellectual property rights can play a crucial role in the success or failure of getting funded.

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    Guest Article

    By Brett Hertzberg
    Merchant & Gould

    The Pacific Northwest is blessed with a ready supply of entrepreneurs who have the drive and creativity to develop new technologies, new products, and new companies. Venture capitalists and other investors will go to great lengths to assess the risks and barriers to success for your company. Intellectual property rights can play a crucial role in the success or failure of getting funded.

    Great technology alone will not lead to success without the right team. Venture capitalists will scrutinize the team you have assembled to determine their experience and understanding of the market for the new technology. For established markets, selection of a management team that is experienced in that market is crucial to gaining confidence from investors. For new markets, selection of a management team with a track record of bringing new technologies to market is equally important.

    Market distinction can be established through technological innovations, and patent protection should be secured around the core technologies of your business. Without patent protection you may have no ability to prevent “copycat” companies from springing up. Patent rights can also create an asset that can be leveraged in the valuation process, which will undoubtedly be necessary to obtain funding. Moreover, in some instances, patents may be the only asset you have for valuation. For example, emerging software companies typically do not have physical assets that can be collected for valuation, and patent rights can fill this void.

    Market distinction can also be established through a carefully crafted branding campaign. Brand awareness can often be created through a series of trademarks or service marks. Stylistic logos and catch phrases may be important for creating an identity for your product. Without federal registration of your marks, it may be difficult to prevent others from copying or diluting the value of your identity.

    The risks of entry into the market cannot be assessed without a full appreciation of the competition in the marketplace. For established markets, there may already be a minefield of intellectual property rights that must be carefully navigated. Freedom to operate studies and trademark searches can serve an important function in assessing these risks.

    Freedom to operate studies can be used to identify and evaluate patents that are already present in the same technology space as your products. After a search is completed, extensive analysis may be required to determine if your products implicate patent rights of others. In some instances, if the product is covered by the patent rights of others, alternative technologies may be used to design around the patent. Without the understanding provided by a freedom to operate study, the product may face an unknown substantial risk of patent infringement, which could ultimately drive the company out of business.

    Similarly, trademark searches can be used as a preliminary step to identify and evaluate trademarks that may already exist to determine if your proposed branding campaign is sound. An extensive trademark search can be used to evaluate federal registration records, state registration records, trade directories, business name lists and domain names. This preliminary step can be used to prevent expensive litigation costs that may occur in the future, in addition to the expense that may be required to re-brand a product or company name.

    In addition to securing intellectual property rights, businesses must be careful to prevent theft of intellectual property by their employees. Imagine that you hire someone to develop a technology and they leave your company and hand over the newly developed technology to a competitor. Employment contracts that include provisions for intellectual property rights should be utilized by every company that is involved in creating and developing technology. Assignment of intellectual property rights should be included as one clause, and other clauses such as reasonable non-competition clauses should also be included to prevent theft of important intellectual property assets. The employment contract should also include a choice-of-law clause and forum selection clause so that the applicable law and appropriate venue of any potential dispute is controlled.

    Success in every new business endeavor has many risks. An awareness of intellectual property rights can play a crucial role in minimizing the risk of failure and in increasing your chances of getting funded. Start the intellectual property process early to increase value and minimize risk.

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    Author Brett A. Hertzberg, Managing Partner, is an attorney with the intellectual property firm of Merchant & Gould in its Seattle office.

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    Funding for Technology Entrepreneurs - Aug. 7, 2007

    A WTC event at Washington State University Vancouver Campus.

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  • Learn more

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  • RTD grant info sessions - Aug. and Sept. 2007

    Free orientation sessions on early-stage R&D; funding will be held in Seattle, Spokane, Pullman, and online.

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  • Learn more

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  • Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference - Sept. 10-12, 2007

    The 2007 Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference in Portland will focus on nanotechnology development.

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  • Read more

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  • Banff Energy Venture Forum 2007 - Oct. 4-5, 2007

    Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative members can receive a 50% discount to attend.

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  • Visit NWETC.com

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  • POWER-GEN Renewable Energy 2008 - Feb. 19-21, 2008

    Stretch your tradeshow dollars by participating in NWETC's Pacific Northwest booth.

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  • Visit NWETC.com

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  • 2008 Washington State Technology Summit - Apr. 15, 2008

    Save the date for Washington's annual emerging-technology conference.

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