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There’s a brewing dispute over a $157,571 fully backed Kickstarter “smARtDUINO: Open System by former ARDUINO’s manufacturer”. The Arduino team just posted some of the issues up on their site (check out the comments as well). Some trademark, some are about who/what may have, or may not have worked with the Arduino factory, and how this Kickstarter campaign was promoted to its backers. The big question is: what should Kickstarter do?

Last week, Kickstarter was named in a patent suit with Formlabs. Should backers be notified when there is a legal dispute?

The Arduino team did contact Kickstarter. Here was their response.

Thanks for writing in and bringing this to our attention. This is a matter that must be taken up directly with the project creator. You can contact them by clicking “Contact me” on the project page.

Best,
Kickstarter”

Kickstarter is fueling so many great projects, at the same time, they’ve revamped the expectations on what project creators need to provide. How should Kickstarter address this issue?

When I first saw “smARtDUINO: Open System by former ARDUINO’s manufacturer,” I assumed this was someone who worked with Arduino closely in Italy. Specifically it says “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy”. smARtDUINO just posted a response on their site.

I’m writing this up as post-in-progress and will update it over time with any additional details. Please post up in the comments with your opinions on what Kickstarter should do.


Update: Pictured above, one of the issues in dispute – smARtDUINO with Arduino(TM) on the board(s). The smARtDUINO creator is posting up in the comments here now as well.

Related:
Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay
How Open Source Hardware is Kick-Starting Kickstarter!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. If my experience with KickStarter customer service is any indication, I assume KS will let their automated systems run their course, and just sort of.. see how it all turns out.

  2. Dan says:

    I don’t care if they have to change the name to “daFartoolio”, if it is a real product, that is as open as required, and it works as advertised, then it is a brilliant idea and everyone should just get over it and move on. At least it isn’t like the other projects that raised huge amounts of money for things that did not even exist as a prototype.

    However I can see why the Arduino team would feel threatened by the project, it is clearly a significant improvement on the original product, but that is the sort of evolution that openness is supposed to foster, isn’t it?

    If the Arduino team want to deal with the completion, like adults, they should knuckle down and come up with something even more evolved that puts them at the front of the pack again.

    Ecosystems are dynamic guys, adapt or go extinct.

  3. Antoine says:

    Why Phillip, that is a close partner of Arduino with Adafruit, report only one massage from one user that wrote he being confused and he didn’t report the dozen of messages of people that wrote about they haven’t any doubt and no misunderstanding? Why Phillip didn’t mention that, apparently from the documents came out, Banzi from Arduino wrote the false on his blog and he’s not going to apologize? What is the real interest for one of the closest partner on Arduino on writing this post?

    1. hey folks – the topic is “what should kickstarter do”…

      @antoine – i specifically linked to smARtDUINO’s site in my post (http://smartduino.com/arduinotmtrademark-intimated-us-to-close-the-domain-and-cancel-our-product/) i don’t believe any one else has who has written about this. i’m asking the MAKE community what should kickstarter do in this situation. arduino has an issue with a backed kickstarter, 3d systems has an issue with formlabs and kickstarter – should the backers be notified? kickstarter approves each project, do they have any responsibility to the backers when issues come up? people who create projects need to follow the rules that kickstarter has made, what rules does kickstarter need to follow (they’re very community oriented, it’s likely up to us to make suggestions). this is newsworthy and all very interesting.

      1. Antoine says:

        Phillip, yes you did it… you wrote about Kickstarter, but you intentionally used a screen capture that show one frame of a video that’s almost 10 minutes long and shows how different and innovative is that project.

        Plus, you quoted the only message of dozens that claim he found some confusing word, and this is misleading.

        As you are clearly a strong partner of Arduino, if you really wanted to only focus on Kickstarter, you should use different examples.

        IMO

        1. @antoine, the screenshot is from the kickstarter page directly. my post includes the following example (and linked) “Last week, Kickstarter was named in a patent suit with Formlabs. Should backers be notified when there is a legal dispute?”

          in the title of the kickstarter it says “by former ARDUINO’s manufacturer” and the first sentence is “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy”.

          i think it is reasonable for anyone to think based on those words that they were closely connected to arduino in italy for years.

  4. I backed the Smartduino project and if Kickstarter cancelled the funding (which has already closed and my credit card charged) I’d need my money bakc so I could give it right back to them.

    There’s no way in hell I (or anyone) should support the idea of my money going to Arduino.

    Also, the Smartduino guys have shown conclusively that Arduino was aware of their project from (at most) the second day after the project launched, but they waited until the day after it closed before they started threatening the Smartduino team. I don’t know what Arduino’s game is here, but it certainly doesn’t sound above board.

    1. @kevin – what do you think kickstarter should do when issues like this come up?

      1. Kris Lee says:

        We do not care what should Kickstarter do because this is NOT an issue here.

      2. I think Kickstarter should comply with legal orders, but that a claimant should try and resolve the matter with the accused first, including using legal mechanisms, if need be.

        Kickstarter performs some level of review before projects go up, so this stance won’t cause fake projects to run rampant, but neither should a third party expect to circumvent due process and get a project taken down from Kickstarter unilaterally. As anyone who’s been party to a DMCA takedown knows, abuse goes both ways.

        Arduino.cc tried to take down the Kickstarter project (after it had completed) by forcing Kickstarter to judge their claim. Kickstarter is not only unqualified and under-equipped to perform that assessment, they’re also unable to accept the liability in making such a decision, defending themselves from suits and countersuits from both sides that should really be talking to each other, not running to a parent.

    2. Tim Dysinger says:

      How do you feel about backing the project now? Dimitri went on to not only scam us but scam Indiegogo to the tune of $170k (again) and this time 7000 people using the Arduino name.

  5. Phillip,

    I have a very simple question: did you try to verify if is true that my mother’s company worked for the manufacturing of Arduino in Italy, as the invoices shows?

    Did you try to check if is true that people published on magazines working in the factory that was claimed, by Team Arduino, to be their own factory in Italy, are actually the same people that now work with us?

    The real problem here is that you guys are asking about what should Kikstarter do when false information are used to describe the projects but, to do this, you are taking as example, including picture that talk more than words, a Kickstarter campaign that is legitimated by the real fact.

    We have worked for the manufacturing of Arduino and we have the evidences, like invoices and materials left from the production and never claimed back, and we did this with people that have been published on magazines even years ago working in the manufacturing of Arduino.

    Before come to work for the company that I’ve founded 15 years ago, Diego spent 4 years doing nothing else than SMD assembling of Arduino. Simona spent 5 years soldering the headers on hundred of thousands of Arduino boards and shields.

    Why the hell we can’t say that we have been involved in the process of manufacture Arduino, if this is the pure truth?

    From the Kickstarter project’s page:

    “We had relations with Arduino only as an outsourcing company, working for the contractor in charge of the manufacturing of Arduino.”

    It is the truth and we wrote it, clear and loud.

    So if you want to discuss about what Kickstarter should do against project claiming the false, you should totally change your example, because this project is faithful and real at 100%.

    As other commenter noticed, you have some conflict of interest, because Arduino is a very strong partner of Adafruit and with this post you are taking positions based on lies, ruining the reputation of Make Magazine just to try to save the face of who made mistakes, like Massimo that posted on his blog false information about my company and my person, without issue any errata or apologize when this become obvious.

    I’m sorry for Make Magazine that is supporting this increasing amount of lies and misleading information just to protect Massimo’s mistake.

    Dimitri Albino

    1. @dimitri – arduino posted about this, i linked to their post, you posted on your site, i linked to your post. last week 3dsystems added kickstarter to a patent suit (also linked here). it’s clear that there is and will be legal disputes on fully backed kickstarters. arduino’s lawyer(s) sent you legal documents as per your own post, this is newsworthy in the world of open-source hardware.

      the MAKE comments here are open for you (and massimo) or anyone else to discuss this. thank you for posting up.

      what do you think kickstarter should do when issues & disputes like this come up?

    2. MarSik says:

      I am sorry Dimitri, but you mix facts together. And not all of those are in your favour.

      1) You have capitalized ARDUINO as part of your product’s name (and also on the picture of your PCB). That is an issue according to trademark laws and although you promised to correct the PCB it is/was part of your advertising possibly confusing the backers (the possibility is what matters to the courts).

      2) Massimo was contacted by their reseller (as stated on his blog) who was confused by the statement “For years we have manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy”. That clearly shows that there is a possibility of being mistaken for the real arduino team/manufacturer. You clarify it lower on the page, but it is this big statement at the top of the page that makes the first impression. As does “Open system by former Arduino’s manufacturer” which in proper English really implies that your company produced Arduinos (and that is something totally different from having two former subcontractor employees on your team).

      3) It is the manufacturer’s lawyer which wrote the original document (and if you know lawyers, it was written “just in case” using a template) and then sent after the rest of the information was gathered. The process just takes time. And even if it took a year, they had to do it eventually (see 4).

      4) If they do not defend their trademark (by sending the letter with Cease and desist legalese) they can really loose it. And that is a problem which they have to act upon, even if they want to settle this peacefully.

      So I am sorry but you have picked a wrong name and that is all there is to it. Nobody wants to shut down the competition using lawyers, this is all just about the name and the manufacturing statement. Should be easy to fix and be done with it.

      I do not speak Italian and do not know how to look up company registration documents in Italy so I can’t comment on those claims.

      1. Dave B says:

        “which in proper English really implies that your company produced Arduinos (and that is something totally different from having two former subcontractor employees on your team).”

        Yes, it is totally different. You seem to have missed him stating that his company was indeed contracted to produce official arduino products. So, yes, his company did produce arduinos.

        Take a look at his blog posts, he scanned in a couple of the invoices to prove this.

    3. Al Linke says:

      Dimitri, the first sentence of your KickStarter project states “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy.” While technically this may be true given the FAQ explanation that 2 of your employees worked in a former Arduino plant, it is clearly a misleading statement and in my opinion, unethical to mislead users like this. Yes you clarify in the FAQs but many people only read the headlines, not the fine print.

      Your project seems pretty cool but unfortunately is over-shadowed by this extraneous marketing. Especially given all the feedback you’ve received on this point, why not just edit that part out? Let people focus on what seems like an innovative product and do away with the distractions and not further alienate those in the Maker community (your potential customers).

      1. Dave B says:

        His company did indeed produce official arduino products. Haven’t you seen the invoices he posted up? He also has employees that used to work for the main arduino manufacturer, but that’s secondary.

  6. Ted says:

    Kickstarter can go out of business for all I care. Their customer service is best described as horrid to nonexistent, and even if you do get your product (if you do), it is months. Yes, I’ve bought from them a few times, and almost every time it was an awful experience. I’m done, never again.

    1. dimitrialbino says:

      Ted,

      you didn’t buy from Kickstarter, you supported projects that are on the only and total control of the proposers.

      If anything went wrong, is not a fault of Kickstarter.

      Dimitri

  7. dimitrialbino says:

    Phillip,

    I think Kickstarter has more than issue. I’ve wrote this in the past.

    From “behind” I know that they have a very low control of what’s going on with a project.

    What most people doesn’t know, maybe you don’t as well, is that when you submit a project to Kickstarter they check if you followed their rules. But, after this approval from them, you can still totally change the project before publish it. And you can keep changing as long as it is alive.

    So, bad people can actually get a nice project approved and then transform it on a big scam. Maybe this will end up in some censorship by Kickstarter or not. I can’t know it because my project was 100% legitimate, real, faithful and based on truth.

    In the public forum on Kickstarter we discussed about the limits related to US or UK companies and individual and I did totally support this choice. If it’s already hard to control a limited environment, what can happen if they open it to the whole world?

    They are, imo, simply understaffed and I believe it can be very hard to manage the huge amount of requests that they receive. For example, they use ZenDesk for the customer support, a tool that I know very well because I use it in my company, since long time ago, and they automated a lot of answers to common questions.

    It’s hard to imagine how complicated can be for them to keep together all this. But, in fact, what Massimo wrote to them (and he can actually ask to me first) it’s out of their control. Their contract both with project’s owners and backers is very clear: we must not cheat and they must try to make sure what their are doing, by themselves.

    Since Massimo was aware of this since the first day, there were a lot of things that can be done.

    Like contact me immediately and ask me to change the wording. Or pledge 1$ and start posting on the public comment area. Or even unleash the lawyers since the very first day. But not spend false words on my name on his blog, one month later.

    This is not related on Kickstarter that, as facilitator of mutual respect and trust, can’t be involved in what’s legal and what’s not.

    Dimitri

    1. thanks for posting up dimitri, it sounds like you’re willing to work with the arduino team to resolve any issues and you also posted up some good feedback and experiences on how kickstarter works. thanks for this, i hope folks who read this now have more information and will also post what they think kickstarter can and should do when there are legal disputes on fully backed projects like yours as well as formlabs.

  8. Chris says:

    Typically, I would argue that a service like the one Kickstarter provides should refer complaints/issues directly to the project creator/owner. However the difference is that Kickstarter exercises editorial control over which projects to allow onto their site and with that editorial control comes responsibility.

    Would I expect Arduino to go after the smARtDUINO owners ISP, website, or email provider for providing him access to post something like this? No, since they allow anyone to use their services. Once the companies start picking and choosing though, they are literally “co-sponsoring the project.”

  9. Given the conditional funding nature of Kickstarter, they’re approach to legal challenges should be to tell the person with the complaint to get a restraining order. If a judge then grants that order, they should tell the sponsor to win in court before the deadline, if the want their money. Kickstarter should NEVER act as a judge in these matters. As someone who has funded a number of Kickstarters, i see a legal challenge to a Kickstarter as no different then the Kickstarter not hitting its minimum goal. It is an obstacle they should have foreseen, at least enough to list as a challenge they had to face.

  10. krekr says:

    I think they’re only pissed off because it literally says “Arduino” on one of the products (https://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/000/219/985/d8d0152d411cc00baa2ec20dc18367ce_large.jpg?1350833296) which is forbidden by the Arduino brand licence. And they’re right. The Arduino name itself is proprietary, and they’re abusing it on this specific product.
    That they’ve “waited” a few weeks is likely just due to slow lawyers.

      1. LongDuckDong says:

        Good point, and great find.

    1. bandit says:

      So – all of this drama is because on ONE board out of a bunch the Arduino CLONE has the word Arduino on the silkscreen?

      That’s it?

      Fine – change the silk to reflect what Arduino specifies as what is needed on a clone board. The text under the board should include the word “clone”.

      The claim to be a contract manufacturer is pretty clearly true. Kickstarter is partially responsible for pushing the full explanation into the FAQ, but any drama over this is obviously a combo of mis-understanding and Massimo getting his panties in a wad. Dimitri has been entirely open and transparent about this, with invoices to back it up.

      One of the points I don’t see made anywhere is it is VERY IMPORTANT that the smartduino folks know how to do Contract Manufacturing. It takes *expertise* to do it right, and this many boards of this level of complexity is difficult to get right.

      1. Dave B says:

        Actually, that was apparently a misprint on a prototype board(it was supposed to say “for Arduino” or something like that), and is already changed in the latest version, according to Dimitri. So, seems like the issue was resolved.

  11. BobAtWork says:

    I certainly think Kickstarter has a bit more responsibility than a handwaving email. Regardless of the inherent truth of anything in the Kickstarter post, trademarks are real; they exist for these types of situations. By providing a means to capitalize on association and employing trademarks to achieve that association, they have skin in the game. This is their problem, too.

    Probably the easiest option is to require a disclaimer about the dispute.

  12. deamiter says:

    I don’t see how Kickstarter can function while taking responsibility for users legal issues. They provide a valuable service — a public posting of projects that are asking for funding, and a secure funding mechanism. They explicitly are not guaranteeing the existence or quality of “pre-sales” even though the practice is tolerated.

    I think that’s the right way to go. We internet users are bright enough to understand that we’re not guaranteed anything and that these are “donations” not pre-sales. Kickstarter vets projects to ensure they follow basic rules, but those rules are not designed to guarantee delivery, just to limit fraud and for their own legal protection.

    If they try to do more — to become a forum for pre-sales of new technology, taking on responsibility for the products and their delivery, I’d predict they wouldn’t last long due to legal challenges like this.

    1. @deamiter – after an issue/dispute like this comes up, what should kickstarter do?

      1. deamiter says:

        While I’d certainly want to know if there was a significant legal challenge to a Kickstarter I backed, simply forwarding any cease and desist letters to Kickstarter users will simply allow trolls to shut down any Kickstarter project. As soon as Kickstarter starts trying to vet the seriousness of legal challenges, they may become liable for the accuracy of the information they forward.

        I really think they are acting appropriately. Someone who has a problem with the project needs to address it with the project itself, not through the funding and publicity service, Kickstarter. At the same time, Kickstarter has shown that they do look into complaints, and I would hope that they internally review legal challenges and complaints that come to their attention. While I don’t expect them to prevent every (or even most) problems that arise when Makers get into legal or logistical problems, they can at least cut off projects that violate their terms of service designed to weed out more blatant cases of fraud.

        Again, Kickstarter is explicitly trying to avoid becoming just a pre-order service. I strongly appreciate that they continue to allow “rewards” of hardware, but I have no illusion that they guarantee delivery. That they don’t take responsibility for legal challenges between third parties and groups that list on their website is just part of how they have to function — particularly given their primarily artistic mission.

  13. I think that massimo and the real arduino team have been pretty clear about the branding limits of their hardware. That is one of the two important points here. Open source or not, branding yourself so that there is a decent chance of confusion is diluting the arduino name, and riding on their success.

    The other issue is how much the people running the kickstarter were involved in the design / production of the arduino in italy. Be 100% transparent and then people won’t have any claims. When they are vague then we are left to wonder if this is massimo or the janitor.

    Both the naming and the ‘heritage’ have been intentionally made confusing. Consequently I think that these guys deserve to have their campaign shut down. If they want to run some shady copycat company with arduino clones mad in who-know-where then I’m not going to stop them, but I also don’t think that Kickstarter should enable them.

  14. Dimitri Albino says:

    Thanks to former Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine Chris Anderson’s camera, anyone can see if it was true or not that we have been involved in Arduino’s manufacturing:

    http://smartduino.com/do-you-know-mr-chris-anderson/

    Dimitri Albino

    1. LongDuckDong says:

      Do people in your organisation have nothing better to do than troll boards and forums all day?

      1. bandit says:

        LongDD:

        Dimitri is the one in the organization who is dealing with this issue, in addition to his normal duties. He is also in China, so has to deal with different timezones.

        Everything I have seen (on the smartduino.com, kickstarter page, and arduino.cc blog) causes me to believe Dimitri is honest and honorable. He has shown respect for the arduino folks, tried to communicate directly with Massimo (but was pawned off to the CEO and lawyers), and attempted to be very clear, despite not being a native English speaker.

        I do mission-critical embedded systems for a living. Professionally speaking, this is a really cool bus structure, both electrically and physically. Wow, what a lot of work! I am really impressed – and sad I just learned of it instead of when I had the $200 for the full support!

        This is really about a mis-communication and Massimo becoming bull-headed. I have nothing to do with any of these folks (outside of using an arduino) – just reading what everybody else can.

        My gosh – you are the one coming across like a troll. Nice name, BTW.

        1. LongDuckDong says:

          “This is really about a mis-communication and Massimo becoming bull-headed”

          I don’t think you understand the issues involved. Try to read and understand:

          http://blog.makezine.com/2012/11/26/what-should-kickstarter-do/#comment-788953

          Regardless who this guy is, or what his claimed intentions are, re-read the way he is addressing the websites reporting the issue. Class A trolling IMHO

          It’s a traditional Chinese name, hopefully you’re not being racist.

    2. bandit says:

      (Moderators: please excuse the double posting. The reply to LongDD is so scrunched up to be unreadable. Please just post this one. Also, please consider your indentation method.)

      I read all of the kickstarter page and almost all of the comments on all of the blogs. I then wrote

      http://blog.makezine.com/2012/11/26/what-should-kickstarter-do/#comment-789431

      and

      http://blog.makezine.com/2012/11/26/what-should-kickstarter-do/#comment-789411

      Yes, I think I understand the issues:

      1. Massimo is upset because smartarduino has “ARDUINO” on one of their boards – the one out of many that is an actual Arduino clone. This is the specific complaint on the image of the letter sent by the Arduino lawyer.

      Solution: change the silk and the text (“= ARDUINO”) to whatever Arduino specifies in their licensing agreement.

      2. There seems to be a lot of FUD, or at least much confusion (depends on one’s attitude) on the use of the “duino” suffux in “smartduino” mixed with the cAmELcASe. Yes, they “hid” a lowercase ‘t’ in “ARtDUINO”, which many people will miss (because humans are pretty bad about that sort of visual cue).

      Solution: Got me. I already suggested Massimo and Dimitri get drunk, kiss & make up, and do something reasonable. But it seems (based on track record) that both sides *want* to be reasonable people. I think Massimo got upset and started not thinking straight, based on his description of events (ie the research results).

      3. “manufactured ARDUINOs for years”. From the posted invoices, yes, Dimitri and folks have. Again, it takes SKILL and EXPERTISE to mass-produce boards like this in quantity with proper quality control.

      Solution: provide a link after the text on the Kickstarter page to the FAQ.

      All of the Dimitri post I have read, he has tried to be reasonable and deal directly with Massimo – he tweeted Massimo his email addr. Massimo blew him off to his CEO. I can tell Dimitri finally got frustrated – just look at the blog about Chris from Wired. Can’t say I really blamed him when Massimo turned down all offers to chat then sicked a lawyer on him. While Massimo may have a legitimate legal issue (IANAL), it was a rather rude path to take.

      Please point to *one* example where Dimitri has been disrespectful to Massimo and Arduino. He got a bit snarky after becoming frustrated, but still not disrespectful.

      As far as your name: the first post I responded to of yours, it really seemed you were working hard to be a troll. “longduckdong” is the type of name a troll would pick to proclaim on how big his “johnson” is. Note I could have responded with much harsher words. BTW – I have one hand, thus the “one-armed bandit”.

      HOWEVER, as I read more of your posts, it was obvious that, while opinionated, you were NOT trolling. (I am just as opinionated.) Thus, I APOLOGIZE about assuming you were a troll. As far as racist? I don’t care if you are purple and I am blue. It all ends up as Soylent Green. As far as I know, both of us are dogs – this *is* the internet.

  15. There is probably not a clean-cut answer to “what should Kickstarter Do in these situations?” as the two situations (Formlabs and smARtDUINO) are rather dramatically different. I’m willing to bet nobody at Kickstarter would have approved a smart car project named smMERCEDES-BENtZ, but somebody at Kickstarter decided a smARtDUINO was okay, and now somebody at Kickstarter needs to answer for that decision.

    1. dd says:

      @Talldark…The Arduino team encourages offspring projects. They specifically don’t prohibit developers from using “duino” suffix, albeit sounds terrible in Italian. In addition, the Arduino team prohibits developers from linking themselves to the official Ardunino project without contacting them first. I think that is what the boys in Italy are pissed about, as the smARtDUINO team took a bit of liberty in describing their relationship to the Arduino project.

      @Pillip…I think its preposterous that 3D Systems is suing Kickstarter for providing Formlabs an online outlet to market their low cost SLA printer, in an effort to launch a company. However, I fully agree with 3D systems suit against Formlabs, assuming Formlabs is infringing on their patent.

      This silver lining for Formlabs and the maker community (myself included) is the stated patent was issued in 1997 and filed 4/15/1994, and therefore it expires in 17 months. So my advice to Formlabs is this;

      1. Cancel the Kickstarter project and return all the backers money.
      2. Raise 24 months of operating expenses.
      3. Develop more materials
      4. Improve the system (speed, finish, reduce cost, etc), and
      5. Relaunch on April 16, 2014, with an SLA system as good as 3D Systems, for under $4k with a variety of material at a cost of $99/liter (stretch goal of $49/liter)!

      Please save your money on legal fees and put it to good use.

  16. Cal says:

    You have got be retarded in this day and age to think you can use another companies name or trademark in your adverts without legal reactions. Good idea or bad idea, bad company or good company are not the issues here. Calling every one liars or legal bullies does not draw away from your blatant attempt to use another’s name and hard won reputation to promote your product. Pick a unique name and grow up.

  17. Tyson Haverkort says:

    I think the whole debate about if they hired someone from Arduino or not is unimportant (particularly when those people had roles that were insignificant to the point where nobody from Arduino recognized or remembered them). This is an obvious attempt to try to profit off the Arduino brand, and perhaps even confuse people into thinking there is some affiliation. The hardware looks quite good, and it would probably stand on it’s own merits, so it’s a shame they took this route.

    With regards to Kickstarter, there’s no easy answer, but warning bells should have clearly went off when another company’s name appeared in their campaign.

  18. As someone who has helped fund projects on Kickstarter, I would very much like to know that there are legal threats to the project. Having to deal with trademark claims and/or patent lawsuits dramatically effects the success of the project. If the claim seems valid (like Arduino’s does here, and the Makerbot clone earlier this year) I want to know so I can pull my funding. If the claims are unfounded I want to know so I can add to my pledge to help fight the trolls.

    One of my constant complaints about Kickstarter is that it’s hard to complain about projects. I understand the logic behind it. Not being able to comment on a project without becoming a backer keeps the trolls away. And that’s generally good, but it also means that often times projects that have very legitimate concerns (for example, projects that violate various physical laws) don’t get called out. It also means that people important to the project can’t comment if they missed the funding window.

    What should Kickstarter do? It’s a hard question. They shouldn’t open the doors to trolls but should listen and respond to legitimate concerns. Kickstarter’s non-response to this, the Formlabs, and the Tangibot don’t give me a lot of confidence in funding future projects. The first thing they could do is improve the “Report this project” screen. Right now there’s no way to report something like this, nor append a meaningful description to the complaint. Possibly even some sort of petition mechanism where KS will visibly flag/notify backers of a project when a threshold is reached. Yes, that would require more KS staff to pay attention to the complaints, but it would increase confidence for funders. I don’t believe you can over-curate a site like Kickstarter.

  19. LongDuckDong says:

    I see that this isn’t the only forum being trolled by people who:

    A. Work for the organisation in question.
    B. Haven’t got a clue about the issues involved, but decide to shoot their mouths off spouting either FUD or baseless claims.

    Or a combination of the above.

    Kickstarter should take such claims seriously.

    See also: http://hackaday.com/2012/11/27/kickstarter-incurs-the-wrath-of-arduino-creator/

  20. Kickstarter should do nothing. This dispute is between the Arduino team and smArtduino, we can all agree that the wording has been a little bit sketchy and instead of “former Arduino manufacturer” it should have said “sub-contractor”. It is clearly stated that Kickstarter is not responsible for any of this. This is like saying that Craigslist should be responsible for the actions of the people that post ads. I agree that the Arduino name should not have been used as it is a trade mark but that dispute is between the smartduino team and the Arduino foundation. We are all adults here and something like this could have been fixed long before this dispute begun. The arduino name is not opensource but the design is so building upon it is 100% legal, marketing it as an arduino is not. I think the right and easiest thing to do is to present this issue clearly to all backers and give them an option to refund their money if they don’t want to sponsor the project anymore. After that change the name of smartduino and the pcb markings and see if the arduino foundation wants to push any further consequences. If this was a true trade mark infotainment it is up to the court to decide that, not Kickstarter. We all think of kickstarter as a company that stands behind the projects where in fact it is just an advertising platform. We all need to start thinking of it the way we do about Craigslist, when your backing a project your trusting the creator of it, just as when you buy something on CL your trusting that person. Kickstarter monitors the contents of the projects just as CL monitors whats put in their ads to make sure they meet their rules but even if it is presented nicely it doesn’t mean it is not a scam. The only thing we can ask for Kickstarter to do is to make users more aware of this fact. As for who you should contact with this types of issues there should be a special department created that even if you use the contact the creator option and they dont respond you can contact and they can put pressure on the creator to start mediation. but once again kickstarter should not be the judge, it should only be a tool that allows communication in case of a dispute

    1. LongDuckDong says:

      “I think the right and easiest thing to do is to present this issue clearly to all backers and give them an option to refund their money if they don’t want to sponsor the project anymore.”

      Fortunately for the rest of us, you’re not in charge of making or upholding the law.

      1. so what your opinion is? if you have nothing constructive to add to the discussion i dont believe you should join it at all…

        1. LongDuckDong says:

          Your beliefs about who should comment are about as relevant as your contribution to this discussion. Zero.

          You have no understanding of why Arduino is involved in this dispute, or what they have to lose if they don’t challenge this.

          Try to read and understand:

          http://blog.makezine.com/2012/11/26/what-should-kickstarter-do/#comment-788953

          You don’t agree with open source hardware manufactureres and designers trying to hold on to their trademark, that says a lot more about you than your existing baseless comments.

          1. just read my post again, opensource lets anyone use the idea and not the trade mark, i clearly stated that but judging from your tag (longduckdong) your not a very constructive person, just another d**k that comments just to be against someone

  21. bandit says:

    This is really a tempest in a teapot. My gosh. I posted this to the Hack-a-day site.

    Having spend more than an hour reading all of the Kickstarter page, most of the arduino.cc blog comments, most/all of the amartduino website:

    1. Dimitri is not a native English speaker, but one who is (http://arduino.cc/blog/2012/11/26/kickstarter-trademarks-and-lies; Rob Says:
    November 26th, 2012 at 17:07:50) “I then stepped in as a native English speaker and re-wrote his whole main page (not the updates)”
    Also, Kickstarter had him re-write portions of the page because it restricts the description text to a max number of chars. (same blog, find Dimitri’s posts)
    It is not clear to me if Rob helped before or after Dimitri re-wrote the page. I will assume Rob re-wrote the re-write.

    2. the re-write Dimitri did forced some text describing “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy.” to move to the FAQ, which is very clear they were a contract manufacturer. The invoices on the smartduino blog show this clearly.
    I took it as they were showing they had the *capability and expertise* to actually manufacture the boards. This is a very important point – I have worked for a contract manufacturer (although not directly as part of the division), and I am quite aware of the expertise it takes to get this right.

    3. I was not confused by the trademark differences in the name – it looks different enough for me. IANAL, just an embedded engineer. I find the CamElCaSe a pain, but that is just me.
    Dimitri has a very valid point about NetDuino and the other open-source projects that use the “duino” suffix.
    Suggestion: Arduino charge smartduino one euro (or whatever the minimum licensing fee is) for use of the “duino” suffix. Then, arduino charge anybody else wanting the suffix one euro. Legal issues resolved?

    4. The smartduino “secret sauce” is the bus structure. The concept is not new – this goes back decades to the dawn of digital electrons. I did a similar design about 2 years ago for the company I was working for. Examples: S100, PC104, PC104+, PCI, ISA, …

    4a. The bus connectors are not proprietary – I don’t have the part number, but octoparts will pull up all world-wide suppliers. I know Digikey and Mouser carry them – I have seen them in the catalog.

    4b. This is a really cool bus structure, both electrically and physically. Wow, what a lot of work! I am really impressed – and sad I just learned of it instead of when I had the $200 for the full support!

    4c. There are some comments about “well, they didn’t leave me anything to do”. Then don’t use this stuff.

    4d. There are also comments about not using it in a product. If I had to make 10 units, and used 5 of their boards, I would do it in a heartbeat. At a minimum, it would allow me to concentrate on the system, deliver it to the customer, then refine it with the customer.

    5. What drama! Blood shed! Lawyers! Flame Wars! Oh, my.
    From what I can see, just reading the various sites and posts, is Dimitri having some text that was ambiguous (but cleared up in the FAQ), Massimo being frustrated with Kickstarter, then getting bull-headed instead of pawning it off to his CEO.
    Dimitri tried several times to directly talk to Massimo, but Massimo got his CEO and lawyers involved. Dimitri at this stage becomes fairly frustrated, and I cannot really blame him.

    6. I am really sad about the vitriol of some of the posts. If you know one of these trolls, please dope-slap them for being retarded. My gosh.

    All in all, this has really gotten out of hand. I suggest the way to solve it is one of the two traditional Italian ways. Since dueling is right out, Dimitri and Massimo should get roaring drunk together, kiss and make up, and go back to doing what they both do well, which is doing Great Things!

  22. Mike over on the HackaDay post pointed to some useful legal info regarding what Kickstarter’s liability in all this may be:

    https://www.chillingeffects.org/trademark/faq#QID872

    Question: Is there a DMCA notice-and-takedown requirement for trademark?

    Answer: No. The DMCA Safe Harbor and notice-and-takedown requirements apply only to claims of copyright infringement. However, because CDA 230′s immunity does not apply to trademark either, Internet hosts may be concerned about possible contributory liability if they do not remove alleged trademark infringement once notified of it.

    See also:
    https://www.chillingeffects.org/trademark/question.cgi?QuestionID=398

    Question: What is contributory trademark infringement?

    Answer: Even if you are not using someone’s mark directly in a product or service you sell, your opponent may say you have liability under the theory of “contributory trademark infringement.” This liability may exist if you knowingly allow someone else to violate another party’s trademark rights and personally gain from such violation. It may also exist if you intentionally encourage another person to violate a trademark.

    For example, in one case a court found that the operator of a California swap meet was liable for contributory trademark infringement because it was aware that vendors at its swap meet were selling counterfeit recordings that violated the trademark of the company that owned the rights to the recordings. While the swap meet operator did not sell the counterfeit items itself, it profited on the sale of the items by selling booth space to the vendors and collecting an entrance fee from the customers buying the infringing products. In another case the manufacturer of a generic drug was found liable for contributory trademark infringement because it continued to supply the drug to pharmacists it knew were mislabeling the drug with the name of the trademarked medication.

    However in another case a court felt that a company providing domain name registration, had less control over the use of its service and was not liable for contributory trademark infringement when someone registered a domain name that infringed a trademark.

    The important issues in determining liability for contributory trademark infringement are if you are aware of the infringement, if you have the ability to monitor and control the use of your product or service, and you are in a position to receive some benefit from the violation.

  23. cottewmitch says:

    Dimitri’s comments are… upsetting. Their kickstarter page is partly readable at best. the only thing that differentiates the arduino and the smartduino is the bus structure. nothing else. its just another clone, and clones are the underbelly of opensource. if you are going to make a product, make it by your own bootstraps, rather than leeching off a larger company by throwing your name in someone else’s advertising hat. Dimitri is a clever and skilled electrical engineer, but is vastly misinformed and his marketing is underbaked. Who thinks they can start a company without at least attempting to spellcheck before heading to investors? and who backed him? I wouldn’t give a penny to someone with a buisness plan as backwards as his… Clearly, if SmartDUINO starts selling, they are guilty of infringement and possibly false advertising. Its not like Arduino hasn’t had enough to deal with, after all the duino clones and Chinese counterfeits. Guy would have been much better off spending more time developing the game plan, then proposing it straight to the mother company. he easily could have gotten a hand from the mother company if he would have been honest. but he tried to do some shady white collar crime instead, and now he gonna pay for it. and kickstarter suffers another kick in the shin.

    1. Mk says:

      I read the comments on arduino.cc and I can feel that the guy started off very surprised at the lashing out by who he feels is Arduino + Arduino fan boys, but towards the end(and even more so here), Dimitri sounds fed up and is doing some of the lashing out himself as well.

      This has certainly become interesting and… global, more so than the Tangibot(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattstrong/the-tangibot-3d-printer-the-affordable-makerbot-re/comments)

      1. cottewmitch says:

        its a real shame too… the open source movement is based largely on trust and respect for others creative rights. as we can see, that isn’t always enough.

  24. Mk says:

    @Peter + et al,

    Hi, first time commenter here. This is certainly a hot topic that’s quickly becoming more relevant. In the case like this, KickStarter should honestly stay out of disputes or opt for the ruling of a third party(possibly the result of a court decision). KickStarter cannot get involved w/o scrutiny, and it cannot ignore situations like this w/o scrutiny. I feel that the best stance(w/ while remaining neutral) is for KickStarter to make it known that it recognizes the authority of the third party(such as a court decision) and will abide by their decision and that the project creator must accept that ruling. I mean, they CAN say that they can make their own decision on a case-by-case basis, but I feel that’s only welcoming more trolls/threats/etc. This way, KickStarter can just focus on their service w/o having to allocate funds/resources to validate/verify every single item… also, I believe they only want to serve as a platform to raise funding, not get involved in the politics of it all.

    With all that said, my own personal(IANAL) take on it is that smARtDUINO is at fault here. I can understand why Arduino(from a business point of view) would want to protect their logo/trademark/IP/reputation/etc. and many of the comments I see are people’s feelings who may or may not fully understand the responsibilities a business owner has to protect their brand/company. The thing about smARtDUINO is that the project creator himself even admits his english isn’t the best, yet this flame war has turned around to if other people have dug into the page and read every nook and cranny, they’d understand that he didn’t mean to insinuate that they are from “Team Arduino”.

    But he did.

    Perhaps if he had posted in big bold letters that his English isn’t the best on his page, then I’d try to understand what he was trying to write as opposed to reading it as it is written.

    I admit that when I first saw this project, I took it to mean that some associates from Massimo Banzi’s current or previous core team of engineers spun off and decided to create smARtDUINO. It wasn’t until reading further(out of curiosity) that I noticed that the grammar was off and chances are the impression I got from reading the big bold text was due to;

    1) a deficiency in the English language;
    2) inexperience in business/corporate law/responsibilities
    3) a dirty PR move to capitalize on another’s work;

    Given that KickStarter is a platform for budding entrepreneurs and hobby hackers, I believe Dimitri Albino did not have any malice behind it. It would be great if some lawyers familiar with corporate law in US/China/Italy were to weigh in, since KickStarter is a US based company, Dimitri Albino spends most of his time in China, and Arduino is stationed in Italy.

    In the best case, there would an educated conversation of the differences in corporate laws , and in the worst case, there would be less mud flinging from both parties and trolls who just want to see the world burn, apparently.

    1. cottewmitch says:

      Precisely! Very well put. One thing that upsets me is that this Dimitri fellow is not alone. The poor fella was trying to do this as a family business. He states(above) that he had family members working for manufacturers soldering headers for arduinos. Thats a shame that his skills and work on this project were wasted because he came up short on his business plan. but he did not consult a native English speaker, he accidently committed fraud, he infringed on his employers product, and now he has to backpedal his way outta trouble.

  25. [...] at a subcontractor that did work for the Arduino team.  This was was picked up by Hackaday and Make magazine where the hobby hacker community exploded with all sorts of [...]

  26. tekdemo says:

    I think it’s reasonable that Kickstarter simply reverse the funds to backers, and then smartduino can re-run a campaign without any trademark issues.
    This has only positive benefits for everyone involved. If smartduino is capable of standing on it’s own technical merit, then it’ll pass. Backers who feel swindled by the name dropping confusion can reconsider. Smartduino still runs into the campaign with anyone who’s payed attention to this one. And Arduino doesn’t have to pull out the lawyers to defend the Arduino name (and thus attached community). No one wants this to go down with lawyers.

    However, I get the distinct impression that Smartduino doesn’t want to do this. They’re running around all over the net playing the victim card and throwing out fairly slanderous text. Regardless of their manufacturing prowess, or actual involvement, their “damage control” behavior is causing damage to the Arduino community, which is precisely what trademarks are supposed to protect.

    1. LongDuckDong says:

      “They’re running around all over the net playing the victim card and throwing out fairly slanderous text.”

      I’ve noticed this also

  27. Terry Ritchie says:

    First, to answer the article’s question, I believe any disputes brought up against a Kickstarter project needs to be handled between the companies. It’s the responsibility of the person/company representing the Kickstarter project to know the laws associated with such a venture.

    Secondly, I believe the entire open source community/movement needs to take some responsibility for this type of fiasco. As a consumer of open source hardware, and a backer of the Smartduino project, I would never had thought that using the Arduino name would be in any type of violation. The “open” part of open source to most consumers, I would assume, means that everything about the product is open. The Arduino software source code and schematics are freely available under the open source moniker. I was drawn to Arduino years ago because of their philosophy to create an open standard that others could, and should, build off of. I see names like NetDuino, TinyDuino and SeeDuino, just to name a few, and think nothing of a name like SmartDuino. Consumers are drawn to companies using an “open” standard because of the free thinking it inspires, but in actuality what these kinds of disputes show is that the open source community is not as “open” as one would believe. Smartduino to me was just another company building a better product based on an open standard. That seems to me at least to be the overall goal of open source and Arduino. After reading all the hub-bub over this issue between Smartduino and Arduino I am now more educated on the subject. However, I believe the “open source” companies out there need to do a better job of educating the consumers that they attract with this banner.

    I too thought that the SmartDuino makers were more of a major player with Arduino at first because of the headline on the Kickstarter page. But, I also read the ENTIRE Kickstarter project and realized the overall scope of their involvement BEFORE I pledged my money. If you did not then shame on you. One could easily see the language barrier presented on the Kickstarter page as well, so it’s also easy to see how their wording was probably accidental.

    So, what does this all mean? At the end of the day mistakes may have been made on both sides but let’s get past this as soon as possible so everyone can get back to what’s important … making stuff.

    1. LongDuckDong says:

      Nice post.

      “I would assume, means that everything about the product is open”

      Hence the various adages about assumptions and what they make of us. Assumptions can be dangerous, but as you rightly say, learn from mistakes

  28. PatrikD says:

    Kickstarter makes money off the projects on their website. So when it is pointed out to them that one of the projects infringes on someone else’s trademark, they can be held liable for “contributory trademark infringement”, i.e. profiting from enabling someone else’s trademark infringement.

    I don’t think Kickstarter should be obligated to do a full trademark, copyright and patent search for every project. But if they *know* about an IP rights violation, and stand to profit from it, then they’d better well act on it asap!

    In the current case, I assume the project funds have already been handed over to Dimitri, since the project closed a few days ago. So I guess Kickstarter can always claim they did not know (and should not be expected to know) about the trademark violation at the time they were profiting from it.

  29. Winston says:

    I’ve followed this project from very early on and from reading the Kickstarter project description could EASILY determine that they were being very careful to make it clear that they were NOT Team Arduino.

    This is a brilliant bus and hardware system that strongly deserves to be THE standard for Arduino interconnectivity and the fact that Team Arduino is going down this path indicates to me what a threat this superior system is to them. I say just change the name to ANYTHING and I’ll still buy it. If this system is killed by this dispute, I will personally NEVER again buy ANYTHING with Arduino ™ on it, I’ll buy legal clones.

    1. Terry Ritchie says:

      “This is a brilliant bus and hardware system”

      I agree. While reading through various sources on this issue I read a post that stated this bus would actually make things worse because it’s the troubleshooting that matters most when learning. I agree with this as well, but here is my take. I’m a high school IT teacher that keeps Arduino equipment on hand for students interested in microcontroller programming. Very few actually give it a go because of the electronics involved. They see the wires, boards and discrete parts and figure right off it’s going to be too difficult.

      With a platform like Smartduino I can reverse this assumption. I can get the students to see the programming end first, then they can investigate how the hardware end ties in through the use of their code. Those students interest more in the electronics aspect can be paired with those most interested in the programming … a way to get students to collaborate and teach each other … genuis.

      1. Winston says:

        Yes, but it’s also the very easy modular aspect of this design that’s attractive, allowing the MPU board to be divorced from the interface hardware required for programming it, allowing smaller and lighter form factors which are important when using Duino stuff in my other hobbies – RC aircraft and rockets.

        If one requires the headers to prototype hardware on a solderless breadboard, one simply uses an adapter board. In all other cases, one is not handicapped by having to use large, 0.1″ centered headers for interconnections, instead using the tiny connectors I’ve seen used many times within commercially manufactured electronic devices.

  30. Law is law and the only thing I think that Arduino is pissed about that sticks, is the Arduino-TM is printed on one of the boards.

    Smart + Duino = Smartduino, works for me. Like many have said, NETduino etc etc
    They have proof of “making” boards, works for me even though the language was vague.

    Let’s be honest ANYONE who is considering backing this project knows what an Arduino is which implies a certain level of intelligence and knowledge when it comes to hardware. How many of those people are honestly mistaking A KICKSTARTER project for a trademarked Arduino product. None.The backers of this project were not duped in any way, that’s a crock of poo. These aren’t running shoes or handbags.

    Smartdunio dudes: Relax stop defending yourself in comments, work with Arduino to find a solution you are both happy with.

    Kickstarter dudes: You need to get on the whole legal issue thing and come up with a system for this that at the very least allows people with conflicts to not be treated like you don’t give a shit. What does ebay/paypal do? Other crowdfunding pages?

    1. Winston says:

      “Smartdunio dudes: Relax stop defending yourself in comments, work with Arduino to find a solution you are both happy with.

      Kickstarter dudes: You need to get on the whole legal issue thing and come up with a system for this that at the very least allows people with conflicts to not be treated like you don’t give a shit. What does ebay/paypal do? Other crowdfunding pages?”

      Agree 100%. If it’s the Arduino(tm), mark it out on currently manufactured boards and don’t put it on future boards. Other than that, I don’t understand what the complaint is about. Smartdunio’s Kickstarter project description made it perfectly clear to me from the start that this was not a Team Arduino project.

    2. Terry Ritchie says:

      “Let’s be honest ANYONE who is considering backing this project knows what an Arduino is which implies a certain level of intelligence and knowledge when it comes to hardware. How many of those people are honestly mistaking A KICKSTARTER project for a trademarked Arduino product. None.The backers of this project were not duped in any way, that’s a crock of poo. These aren’t running shoes or handbags.”

      Exactly. Now, let’s get these Smartduino boards in our hands for some fun! :)

    3. bandit says:

      What @Terry said! Amen, brother.

  31. bandit says:

    Look out, Make! You are next (evil cackle):

    http://www.makershed.com/MintDuino_Game_Pack_p/mkmdgp.htm

    (/sarcasm)

  32. [...] MAKE’s volume 32, our just-published Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, this week’s Arduino/smARtDUINO/Kickstarter dust-up, and more. Tune in right here at 2pm PST/5pm EST to watch the live [...]

  33. [...] be discussing MAKE’s volume 32, our just-published Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, this week’s Arduino/smARtDUINO/Kickstarter dust-up, and more. Tune in right here at 2pm PST/5pm EST to watch the live [...]

  34. converging says:

    Lots of back and forth about the naming issues, but no mention of their BIGGEST achievement IMO.

    -they agreed integration partnerships with 3 (three) other kickstarter HW products (Digispark, TinyDuino and FreeSoc)

    -Integration with an online platform with online IDE to control the HW from the internet (http://electricimp.com/).

    -They managed all this DURING their funding run.

    I think this is a first on Kickstarter, and it speaks volumes for the inclusive intent of their project, by actively pursuing use of others’ existing HW rather than offering it themselves)

    The fact that companies with experience in this field have chosen to partner with this project should also lend some weight to it’s credibility and potential.

    The partnerships have elevated their effort from a single HW project into the kickstart of a nascent ecosystem. I think this is an important step forward.

    Surely smARtDUINO deserve some commendation for this achievement?

    On top of this, they intend to develop an open-source visual online IDE to develop, program and test systems (called smARtAPP).

    Regrettably, they came about $2500 short of this stretch goal, so they estimate development will be 6-12 months now, rather than 3-4 months.

    This is an ambitious goal, but if achieved, will open development and application of these OSHW to a much larger audience.

    I hope that their issues are resolved quickly, and that the community can focus on evaluating and providing constructive criticism/advice/support for their broader effort.

  35. Keith Rome says:

    It appears that the heat of this topic has died down a little now (just a little). As a backer with almost $300 invested in the smartduino project, I feel that I very much understand the nature of what Dimitri is doing, what his background is, where things are being made, etc. And I understood all of those things from the first day I saw his project on kickstarter. I have backed a number of projects (including spending a few hundred $ on the TinyDuino project, and many non-maker projects). None have been more open and conversant as Dimitri.

    Yes, there is a language barrier. But I work with diverse teams from all over the world (Europe, India, China, S.E. Asia, Alabama), and I understand that some things are lost in translation.

    Yes, the smartduino name isn’t exactly my favorite. Actually, if it were SmartDuino or smartDUINO it wouldn’t be as bad. But smARtDUINO looks like someone had a stuck capslock key. But it does NOT infringe on the Arduino trademark. As per the main FAQ on arduino.cc: “we don’t attempt to restrict uses of the “duino” suffix”.

    Mr. Massimo’s actions in this case were reckless, frivolous, and slanderous. He did little to no investigation of the project before throwing it and Mr. Albino under the bus. Not one of the statements made in his blog post held any truth (other than the fact that there is indeed a project on kickstarter by that name). And when presented with evidence to the contrary by the man he had directed his anger towards, he chose to fully ignore it and disable further comment on his blog entry. That was disgraceful and it makes me ashamed for him and Arduino in general. I will think twice before purchasing anything branded Ardiuno in the future, and will always choose an alternative if one is available. Lucky for me, smartduino gives me the ability to use alternatives and to mix-and-match between platforms.

    Regarding the question posed by Mr. Phillip Torrone in this blog entry, I don’t believe Kickstarter should do anything differently than they did.

    1. This was a frivolous complaint. The first thing they probably did was look up the Arduino trademark guidelines as I did when I first heard of this drama (http://arduino.cc/en/Main/FAQ), and concluded that smartduino was NOT in obvious violation of anything.
    2. If they interfere with a (popular!!) project due do an 11th-hour complaint, they better have a very good reason for it. In this case nearly 900 irate backers who would have rightfully been furious about the interference which clearly was an oppression tactic by a competitor organization.
    3. As stated before, if they side with either party then they accept liability. People complain about Kickstarter’s cut already – it would be substantially higher if they had to hire more personnel to handle the logistics of increased liability. Retained lawyers, administrative staff, probably some technical staff to build appropriate technology in the website to handle it, etc. All of those things cost money, and lots of it.
    4. It was clear that the complainant (Mr. Massimo et al) did not attempt to arbitrate in good faith prior to their attempt at shutting down the project.
    5. There is no patent infringement alluded to in any way – this is entirely unlike the FormLabs issue.
    6. There have been numerous other projects that have not drawn the wrath of Team Arduino, but would seemingly be the target of their actions if Team Arduino was consistent about pursuing purported trademark violators. When it comes to trademark law, you can’t pick and choose who gets a free pass.

    1. Terry Ritchie says:

      Very well said. Excellent post.

  36. IPadawan says:

    Also not native english, I guess/hope that i am understandable.

    What I see, is that they new what they where doing. There are too many small items that are missleading, the text, the name, the pretending of building the Arduino. Yes, still pretending, because They just creates the parts. Like Samsung manufactor Apple parts.
    If they wrote it that way, then it was more clear. Like “we where manufactoring Arduino parts for years”. No pretending here.
    I still would like to know the rationaly here. What where they thinking? The name is a nice catch an thats all. With this name they don’t get any attention, to much of he same. Give it a great different name and say its like an Arduino clone only smarter ( if it is ).

    About KS. To be fair to the goal, backer and project initiator, I think because kickstarter is a fund raising program, they should give each individual backer of that project the oppertunaty to get their money back ( and splitting the cost ). If the money is paid out, then let it rest. KS should, of course, stay out of the legal issues, unfortunate I think they should even less promote the projects. Just promote KS.
    Also keep a bigger eye at the projects. Montly controll of actions and reviews.

  37. Soul says:

    Probably nobody of you know, but Mr. Albino stole money to many many people here in Italy. In far 2005/2006 he sold hundreds of mp3 players on ebay. At that time iPod was the biggest innovation, and cheap mp3 players were impossible to find here.
    So many many people bought them from him, 100€ each one.
    Someone received it, but me, as me, didn’t.
    He simply disappeared and claims to ebay were useles.
    There has been a very long thread on ebay community about him, but now is not there anymore.
    So I’m not surprised about this…

  38. Soul says:

    “Someone received it, but many, as me, didn’t”

    1. Soul says:

      Try to google for “cinachiamaitalia ebay feedback”
      cinachiamaitalia was his ebay account in those years.

  39. Jeff Narucki says:

    No indication or effort from Dimitri to provide the backers of this project now between 4-6 months late an expected date of delivery. It was a great idea, but when the project owner would rather scrap with folks who gave him money to start his business than resetting expectations I’m plenty concerned that I’ll ever see anything good from backing Smartduino/Smartmaker.

  40. Sarah says:

    I wonder how stupid some of the posters on this thread feel now that the project is knocking on 8 months past due, no Kickstarter backers have published photos or proof that ANY Smartmaker kits are actually shipping despite Albinos claims that “Many ship per every day and getting more and more shipped” only 3rd parties who have purchased kits at full price (the most basic tiers that are no more useful then an Arduino Uno) through the webstore.
    And then of course the 100′s of lies made up by this clown and constantly changing stories about status.
    Dimitri Albino is a con-artist and Smartmaker nothing but a useless gimmick of a system that prevents any kind of real flexibility that you get from a good old Uno, Shields and a breadboard…
    Even IF he manages to get the kits out by November (1 year after campaign started and 10 months late) it does not make up for the lies and excuses this moron has made.
    He never had anything to do with Arduino TM
    He has a long history of lies and ripping people off using loopholes
    He has actually published guides on how to essentially rip people off on eBay!
    He has provided no proof that 3/4 of the products even exist past prototypes (No a self made spreadsheet and any words published by him are far from true).
    And now he has just run a 2nd project releasing a $9 Arduino Leonardo Clone, undercutting nearly all retailers and tearing up the unwritten rule book of open source hardware.

    It goes back even further as it turns out via tax and business records published in the public domain that Albino’s company was neither US nor UK based when he created the project and as such should not of been approved!

    This guy should NEVER be allowed on crowd funding sites again! Avoid him like the plague!

    Oh and how many user names has he used through this thread and other forums/discussions? Its pretty easy to spot his appalling English.

  41. Tim Dysinger says:

    I’m thinking of organizing a class action suit against kicktstarter (and Dimitri if he can be found). If any one is interested email me on the domain dysinger.net (i’m tim). or twitter.com/dysinger

    1. Paul says:

      I would like to join a lawsuit against them. Please let me know how.

  42. Tim Dysinger says:

    dimitri went on to scam Indiegogo using the Arduino name too. We all watched it happen in slow motion as 7000 suckers handed over their money to his crew. Another $170k

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/9-arduino-compatible-starter-kit-anyone-can-learn-electronics/x/1740569

    $350k in 9 months. Not a bad take. Great con. You can’t fight the charges on your credit card now. It’s been to long.

    I tried to warn Indiegogo after it closed but they gave me a form letter just like kickstarter.

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