Kickstarter incurs the wrath of Arduino creator

[Massimo], one of the creators of the Arduino, is a little perturbed over what passes for the truth over on Kickstarter.

While [Massimo] does recognize that Kickstarter can be a force of good launching garage-designed projects into the hands of willing consumers, he noticed something was a little fishy with the recent smARtDUINO kickstarter (notice the capital letters, by the way). Right near the top of the smARtDUINO’s kickstarter page is the phrase, “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy. Now we created a new Open System: modular, scalable, the world’s cheapest and smallest!”

Being at the top of the Arduino organization, you’d think [Massimo] would have heard of these former Arduino manufacturers. The name didn’t ring a bell to him, so he called up the factory. No one at the factory had heard of them, and after a long search it was finally revealed the head of the smARtDUINO project hired two factory workers who worked for a supplier the official Arduino manufacturer uses.

[Massimo] makes the comparison of, “if he hires two factory workers from Ford he can claim he used to manufacture Ford cars.” We’re thinking that’s a little generous. It’s more like hiring two people who used to restock the vending machines in a Foxconn plant and claiming you used to build Apple computers.

With a simple trademark infringement on his hands, [Massimo] contacted Kickstarter to see what could be done. Kickstarter replied:

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

For [Massimo], and us, that’s just not a sufficient answer. We’re thinking Kickstarter has an obligation to vet their projects and make sure the creators of these projects are who they say they are.

But enough about what we think. What do you, the Hackaday reader, think about this situation?

Comments

  1. EccentricElectron says:

    My guess is Kickstarter can’t afford to police the volume of business they have on a cost-effective basis. It’s the ebay model – take their money, wash your hands.

    • Dimitri Albino says:

      My guess is that Massimo wrote something not real and now the truth is clearly out, even if people are keeping to pretend is not.

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

      While I was writing on his blog that he probably just got wrong because busy and trying to support him, he was sending to me his lawyers.

      Welcome to the AppleDuino era!!!

      Dimitri Albino

      • Mike says:

        Dimitri Albino is the creator of the Kickstarter project in question.

        Dimitri, the name you chose, along with the statements you made on the KS page, misled people into believing you had any affiliation with Arduino. That’s clearly a cause for concern (and in at least US law, legal action, http://marklaw.com/trademark-glossary/confuse.htm) for the Mark’s holder.

        Why did you choose to include Arduino in your name? Why did you decide to claim “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy.” ? To any rational person the answer is quite clearly that you wanted to ride the Arduino name to raise awareness and money. That’s not okay.

        Acting shocked and surprised and persecuted is not going to help your case.

        • barabbint says:

          But he *does* have some points. It is not so obvious that smARtDUINO is infringing ARDUINO’s copyright. Also, if it is true that they did manufacture ARDUINOs, then I see no issue in stating it clearly to promote his new product.

          • PatrikD says:

            This is not a copyright, but a trademark issue. And yes, it is abundantly clear that they are infinging on the Arduino trademark, by incorporating it into their own name. It is also abundantly clear that they are creating confusion, even to the point that on of Ardiuno’s own resellers got confused.

            The easy solution is for Dmitri to change the name of his product, and to stop implying that his company (“we”) manufactured Arduinos. He can still claim that his product is Arduino compatible, and that his team includes some former Arduino employees (or, as it sounds like, former employees of a company that did subcontracting for Arduino).

          • barabbint says:

            Answering here, due to the reply-depth issue. Yes, my bad, we are of course talking about Trademark. I do not have as clear, though, if they are so blatantly infringing it. I do not think he tricked people into buying his product due to that, and I think capitalization is not really an obvious way of incorporating a trademark – any examples about that?

          • Dave B says:

            PatrikD, Mike; Dimitri’s company used to manufacture arduino parts. They also happen to employ some people who used to work at the main Arduino manufacturer. Don’t confuse the two. He isn’t claiming that they manufactured Arduinos just because two people who work for him used to work for the main arduino manufacturer. Dimitri has posted scans of invoices proving this, right on the blog post that he linked.

      • Paul says:

        The much-hyped (but questionable) “Quad Core Arduino” feature doesn’t even bother with the 3 lowercase letters, giving the impression it’s 4 actual Arduinos.

        If there’s any question whether Dimitri was aware his Kickstarter page caused readers confusion with Arduino, just look at the FAQ. It confusingly similar enough to merit creating a FAQ at the bottom of the page, but the original text causing the confusion wasn’t edited.

      • LongDuckDong says:

        You have nothing better to do than troll boards and forums all day?

        Comments section of:

        blog.makezine.com/2012/11/26/what-should-kickstarter-do/

      • PatrikD says:

        Dmitri – I assume you will now be deleting your claim over on your Kickstarter page that HackaDay is filtering your comments? Commenst don’t always show up instantaneously, but that is no reason to claim HackaDay is biased on tshi issue.

      • PatrikD says:

        Dimitri – which part exactly of Massimo’s blog post do you feel is a lie?

        And when you said in your comment on his blog post that “we never, I repeat, never claimed our product as better or substitute of Arduino”, then why does your Kickstarter page show explicit side-by-side comparisons with Arduino? Or why do you claim explicitly that smARtDUINO is smaller and cheaper?

        • Dave B says:

          He’s already answered this in the comments on Massimo’s blog. To recap:

          1) Massimo said that Dimitri claims to live in Italy, but actually resides in China. Dimitri countered that he never claimed to live in Italy, he lives in China and has publicly stated this. The company he owns is located in Italy.
          2) Massimo said that Dimitri’s company is claiming to be a former arduino manufacturer falsely upon the basis that he employs 2 people who used to work for the main arduino manufacturer. Dimitri countered that his company had indeed been contracted to make arduino parts, and publicly posted invoices to prove it.
          3) Massimo said that Dimitri’s company doesn’t exist. Dimitri posted official government docs that show that it does exist.

      • bholston says:

        Honestly the more I read into this, the whole thing just reeks. It’s blatantly obvious that the wording in this Kickstarter project was worded such to mislead the casual reader into thinking the project was closely affiliated with the original Arduino team. This isn’t just a bad translation issue, it’s intentional. That’s why Massimo is concerned, and it’s completely “false advertising” from a legal standpoint. I think Kickstarter does bare some responsibility to review this when a request comes in, they can’t just ignore it and then still take a cut of the money. Note: According to their site, they take 5%, so they made close to 8K off this project.

        Dimitri – I’ve looked at the so called “proof” that you put on your site about manufacturing the Arduino, where you show two people that used to work at the factory that worked on the Arduino and showed some invoices (for a different company from Aldi) for soldering on through hole components onto a few shields. How does this let you claim “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy”??? Hell, I interned at NASA for a summer years ago, I guess I can start a company and say, “From the guys that put a man on the moon!”. This claim that “We” manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy borders on fraud and false advertising since it’s not true – being a sub contractor one one little part of a product does not give you the right to make the claim you did. It’s obvious that this was done solely to give your project more credibility than any of the other Arduino type clone projects out there.

        Second, the project specifically mentions (right under the name Dimitri Albino on the right of the page) that it is based in Romano Canavese, Italy. Yet in reading more into it, it’s quite clear that you and the company ALDI Techology are based in Shenzhen, China. There’s nothing wrong with basing things in China, but don’t try to claim that you’re an Italian project. Given that the location on Kickstarter is supposed to be the location of the main project lead, why did you not list Shenzhen for the location? Oh, it’s because listing that the project is based in Romano Canavese will make people think you really are affiliated with the Arduino team.

        I’m also wondering just how you were able to create a Kickstarter project – their terms strictly limit project creation to US and UK permanent residents. I realize the ALDI has a branch in Florida, but having an address in the US does not make you a legal permanent resident. According to Kickstarter, you must meet the following requirements for starting a project in the US (the UK requirements are pretty much the same):

        •You are a permanent US resident with a Social Security Number (or EIN).
        •You have a US address, US bank account, and US state-issued ID (driver’s license).
        •You have a major US credit or debit card.
        •You are 18 years of age or older.

        Dimitri Albino – are you a permanent resident of the US or the UK? Did someone else put up their information so you could create the project, and if so, shouldn’t they be listed as the project creator and not you?

        What part of the project is actually done in Italy? Is any of the the manufacturing done by the two former Arduino factory workers who are still based in Italy, or is manufacturing entirely done in China? Based on the quality of the boards you show on your website, I’d recommend bringing the manufacturing back to Italy, since the boards look like crap.

        Thirdly, the spelling of the name does border on a trademark violation, but it could likely be defended and I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. The bigger trademark issues are on a number of boards that blatantly violate the allowed use of the “Arduino” trademark.

        I’m surprised so many people are defending this project. If this project gets away with this, it actually opens the flood gates to a number of others to misrepresent themselves and not face any repercussions. I applaud the Arduino guys for taking a stand, even though doing anything even remotely that mentions “lawyers” in the open source community is seen as evil and that they’re selling out. They’re not, they need to take a stand on this.

        I’m a huge fan of open-source hardware and want to see it grow, and I’ve supported a number of other Arduino type Kickstarter projects. But supporting open-source does not give people the right to exaggerate or make up claims about themselves, no matter how yellow they make their boards.

        Brian

        • bigalexe says:

          The guy is Chinese and is probably working for the communist regime trying to rip people off. You can’t trust anyone from China or that trades with China.

        • dimitrialbino says:

          Brian,

          we are a legally registered entity in the United Stats. We pay tax there and we have a EIN (Employer Identification Number), as well permanent address, bank account and so on, that’s what Kickstarter and Amazon requires to approve the submission of a project.

          I don’t get why should be a problem to run 3 companies, one in Italy, one in China and one in United States.

          It seems like everyone is trying to find something wrong in our project on Kickstarter, or someone to blame for it.

          There are persons that will spend the youth looking for a job two blocks from home where to settle for the rest of the life, and others that take a hundred flights a year, have seen the world and are dynamic enough to handle business in different continents. It can be OK if an American do this but an Italian can’t?

          Dimitri

    • Paul says:

      Kick started does not approve every submission they get. They often deny projects for one reason or another.

  2. mohonri says:

    It’s a bit of a sticky situation for Kickstarter–this isn’t like the DMCA, where a rights-holder can send a takedown notice.

    I suspect the bigger problem is this: the more kickstarter polices such stuff, the more liability they potentially assume. If there’s an expectation that Kickstarter will take certain actions, then there could be legal consequences if they *don’t* take those actions.

    • T.M. says:

      They absolutely can and should send a DMCA takedown notice to Kickstarter. See how quick they jump after that. Certified letter from their attorney directly to Kickstarter HQ, not email.

      • AP² says:

        No. The Digital Millennium __Copyright__ Act has nothing to do with trademarks, and a therefore a DMCA notice has no business being sent here.

        “512(c) is not applicable to a situation in which a trademark holder gives notice to an on-line service provider (OSP) that a user is infringing his or her intellectual property rights.”

        • Mike says:

          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.

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

          That is, to avoid being sorry, most sites will be safe. It would be abnormal if sending a DMCA takedown, or failing that a traditional C&D, over a trademark, was not honored by a site as large as Kickstarter.

  3. James says:

    Interesting, especially since many hardware projects do not make the cut when submitted to Kickstarter, with them citing situations like this as to why they cannot approve things for listing on KS.

  4. Fabien T says:

    In france, we have (or they wanted to make ?) a law saying basically that any film company could phone any web hosting company to tell them “Close this site because it spreads our movies”, and the website would be closed without any judgement, without including the editor of the website in the discussion.

    No hacker liked it.

    • vic says:

      Well the media industry wanted and lobbied for such a law to by passed, but fortunately it was politely denied. France still is (for how long?) a rule-of-law state.

    • PatrikD says:

      The DMCA in the US *kinda* works like that: It is easy for copyright holder to take down a website, but it is also easy for the website owner to deny that they infringed any copyright, and bring the site back up. Only after that do any lawyers need to get involved. Essentially it provides a quick resolution of copyright infringement claims before anyone needs to get sued, and it protects the ISP middlemen from liability.

      In trademark infringement cases, the trademark holder is essentially forced to sue infringers, or they may lose their trademark rights…

  5. Bogdan says:

    To be fair, it’s not right to pretend they are somehow related to the original Arduino.

    But, as to what they are building, it’s worse than the original. The only thing the original arduino needed was a version with pin spacing that could use reagular breadboards and protoboards.
    The new version is even more locked in: you need buttons, you need to buy a board with the buttons because how will you connect them to that connector?
    At least for the old one you could use regular jumper wires… for this one you need an additional board.
    The connectors required to make your custom shield are hard to find and more difficult to solder.

    I never used Arduinos, everything seems awkward for someone used to regular microcontroller usage and programming, but i think they deserve the credit for forcing the market into cheaper dev boards. I don’t think the price of the Arduino is high. $15- 20 is a fair price for someone not willing to make a custom PCB.

    I don find this new smartduino as some sort of step back from the original… (not in every aspect, but overall)

    • Nick Johnson says:

      Actually, the headers they’re using are standard; they’ve documented the connections and spacing, and they’re even offering up thousands of connectors for free to anyone who wants to build boards that integrate with them.

      • Ren says:

        The Gillette model, Give away free until enough people are hooked on it…

      • Bogdan says:

        They are standard, but not something you can find at the local shop, compared to simple pin headers.

        They say that their boards are made to integrate in final products, but let;s face it, no serious business/designer will do that:
        When you make your own single board for the final product you can have it customized and size will be smaller. You eliminate a middleman and connectors and this cuts costs. if you are doing at least hundreds of devices, then it’s certainly cheaper.

        • arachnidster says:

          I really don’t see how either point you make is relevant to the ‘lock in’ discussion. All that matters is that the connectors are standard, and that the whole thing is documented. Anyone with the skills and determination can build their own boards; the people who developed it don’t have an unfair advantage here.

          • Bogdan says:

            Read carefully: i said “more locked in” , not absolutely totally locked in.
            Arduino is quite locked in because the unusual header spacing makes it difficult to use regular protoboards. Adding connectors which are made by a single manufacturer and which are harder to find makes it more difficult to build your custom shield.

          • arachnidster says:

            You seem to have a different – and rather odd – definition of ‘locked in’ to me. There’s a big difference between the convenience of something and ‘lock in’. To me, at least, lock in implies a deliberate effort to prevent people from going elsewhere (though what you’re presumably talking about is more an attempt to discourage competition through proprietary standard).

            These headers aren’t particularly hard to find. You’re welcome to avoid the platform if you find it inconvenient, but it’s far from lock-in when any electronics manufacturer can choose to manufacture compatible boards on a level playing field with the original creators. To me, that is more or less the opposite of lock in, and I don’t see what else they could have done.

  6. Fabien T says:

    > It’s the ebay model – take their money, wash your hands.

    You certainly don’t know how much money ebay spent to cope with counterfacts, scams, and local law which forbid selling selling some good in some countries (even some law that are imo good)

    • EccentricElectron says:

      I have first hand experience of just how ineffectively eBay deal with the victims of scams and just how unwilling they are take enforcement action or support the police in doing so. In fact they go out of their way to avoid helping in my experience. Whatever they spend, it’s not enough.

  7. Simon Inns says:

    Falsely associating yourself with an established brand is always a no-no. If you think your project has got what it takes, why would you need to do such a thing? The Arduino project is all about the brand (since the whole thing is CC licensed and open-source) and that’s what funds them; i.e. buy an Arduino original board and get a quality product from an ethical supplier – if you want to be associated with them then do what adafruit did with the latest Arduino board, get permission and do things right.

  8. kevin mcguigan says:

    I believe Kickstarter has an obligation to make sure that there is total truth in what is being asked for. Money obtained under pretenses other than honorable is theft in my opinion. I would not give one thin dime to someone dishonest. The Arduino team worked long and hard to develop their microcontroller only to have it copied and re-named by whomever has a whim to do so. If Kickstarter does not want to step in and have this problem addressed themselves, then they are as guilty of fraud as the ones asking for the money.

    • lwatcdr says:

      Looking at this I just do not see where Kickstarter has an issue.
      1. The Arduino is open source. Open source hardware means that you can make copies and sell and even make slight changes and sell them.
      2. Fraud? Do you think that the company building this thing are planning on not building it at all? Do you think it can not possibly work? If not then it is not fraud.
      3. If the guys did work in the factory and built Arduinos than they did build Arduinos. You may feel they are overstating the case but it is not completely untrue.

      This is a trademark issue. The names are not identical and Arduino needs to take them to court and win a claim based on the name and product being close enough to cause confusion. What you do not want is for Websites, Webhosts, and ISPs to be obligated to decided trademark and copyright issues do we?
      As to the product it looks like it would better at lego style building. If you are using off the shelf shields to piece something together. Less useful if you are going to make brand new stuff. They may be scum bags

      • Mike says:

        1. The Arduino is open source. Open source hardware means that you can make copies and sell and even make slight changes and sell them.

        No one is saying that is what has happened here.

        2. Fraud? Do you think that the company building this thing are planning on not building it at all? Do you think it can not possibly work? If not then it is not fraud.

        There are far more ways of committing fraud than not delivering. Such as causing consumers to believe you are affiliated with something you are not.

        3. If the guys did work in the factory and built Arduinos than they did build Arduinos. You may feel they are overstating the case but it is not completely untrue.

        This has been gone over numerous times “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy” is misleading.

        > This is a trademark issue. The names are not identical and Arduino needs to take them to court and win a claim based on the name and product being close enough to cause confusion.

        If that the path they choose they’ll win hands down (assuming it’s in the US), as people have already admitted to being confused and thinking the project was by or otherwise affiliated with Arduino.

        > What you do not want is for Websites, Webhosts, and ISPs to be obligated to decided trademark and copyright issues do we?

        No, the current system (DMCA and C&D) works as well as can be. The entire point of the original blog post was to convince KickStarter to behave like other websites, and act when notified of copyright and/or trademark violations. Kickstarter currently tells you that you need to contact the project’s creator directly.

        • While I agree with everything you said, your last point doesn’t address what lwatcdr said about websites deciding trademark and copyright issues. Yes, where the DMCA applies, C & D’s do work — but only where adequate proof is supplied by the person claiming infringement.

          In a trademark case, Kickstarter can not, as a matter of law, determine whether any actual infringement has occurred. That remains the jurisdiction of the courts, and Kickstarter is right to direct the claimant to contact the alleged infringer directly.

          Also, can you site any other websites that have taken down material, or otherwise intervened in cases where Trademark Infringement, and not copyright infringement, was concerned? — Not being an ass here — genuinely asking. Most of the cases that I can recollect where C&Ds were sent + acted on were all copyright infringement cases, not trademark infringement, which is the case here.

          • lwatcdr says:

            That is my entire point. Sure it may feel like a fraud and it may even be fraud by your standards or mine but we are not a court of law. It is in my opinion questionable marketing at best. Legal procedures need to be followed and it is not up to Kickstarter to do so. And I never thought I would see the day when people on HAD would be demanding an extension of the DMCA to include even more than copyrights!

        • lwatcdr says:

          The DMCA does not work and does not apply. Has Arduino sent a C&D to the company in question? They can choose to ignore it and then they have to go to court.
          What people are asking is for Kickstarter to become a court of law and decided trademark disputes. Best to leave Kickstarter out of it and allow the legal system to work as it should.

      • Tien Gow says:

        There is a difference between saying that a couple of my guys used to work at a factory that built Arduinos, and saying that my factory used to build Arduinos. I say that Dmitri is guilty of deceptive advertising.

        I also say that Kickstarter’s ignoring the issue makes them complicit in the fraud.

        • ZenoArrow says:

          “There is a difference between saying that a couple of my guys used to work at a factory that built Arduinos, and saying that my factory used to build Arduinos.”

          It’s worse than that, the people in question supposedly didn’t even work at a factory that build Arduinos, they just worked at a factory that produced parts that got used in Arduinos.

          “I say that Dmitri is guilty of deceptive advertising.”
          I agree.

      • Tim Dysinger says:

        That’s exactly what Dimitri did (speaking as a sucker who dropped $200 on the scam). He did nothing except pocket the money. Total scam. He stopped talking to people after about 3-4 months. The comment board is filled to the brim with pissed off people.

        I’m glad to see that there is evidence that Kickstarter was warned immediately. Time to talk to class action lawyers.

  9. RandyKC says:

    There is something to be said about kickstarter being based on the e-bay model, but they should and must be an arbitrator in any and all disputes re: patent, trademark or ownership issues. You can’t rely on a thief to do the right thing. You can’t aid or support a thief.
    I thought kickstarter was to help crowd source NEW development, not copyright or intellectual property infringement.
    Do I expect them to vet every project? No. Do I expect them to shut down illegal projects once it is pointed out? Yes.
    Kickstart don’t be evil, be responsible.

    • Doug says:

      Isn’t it more evil for an established organization to shut down development of a competitor? To me this whole thing is counter to hacking and counter to the ideals of kickstarter. This forum should be against entrenched entities trying to hold back start-ups.

      • Yarr says:

        Since when is blatantly ripping something off “developing a competitor”? I don’t think you know what the words you are using mean. Fucking idiot.

      • Mike says:

        That’s entirely laughable. How many companies are selling shields and clones, with zero interference from Arduino?

      • Paul says:

        Arduino hasn’t shut down or complained about competitors who clone the product and sell using their own name clearly and honestly started.

        But they do object when people use confusingly similar names. If there’s any doubt that people were confused by the name and description, just read the FAQ at the bottom of the lengthy Kickstarter page. It’s obvious so many people asked if they were the Arduino team or officially connected that it became a FAQ entry. Of course, Dimitri didn’t edit the confusing name or description.

  10. Balloonman says:

    It’s probably a very muddy area when it comes to publishing someone else’s claims. Think of the local “news aggregate” sites that are really nothing more than gossip/slander/libel sites where the owner of the site claims no responsibility for the words or claims of others. The Attorney’s General of many states have cracked down on the site owners and required strict moderation. If I recall, in Kentucky they were required to respond to any complaint within 3 days.

    Personally, I am not surprised that scammers and con artists are using a site like Kickstarter. It’s easy prey. People are looking for the next big thing. What’s the old saying? “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Do your homework. Find out if the claims are true before you invest. Let Kickstarter know that their client is misleading people. If they choose to ignore such offenses, the entire site will soon become known as a gathering place for snake oil salesmen. If that’s where they want to go, let them go.

  11. 0xfred says:

    Has anything good actually come out of Kickstarter? You hear of “successes” like the Pebble smartwatch, but it mainly seems to be a vapourware incubator.

    • anonymous says:

      ShapeOko, MakerBeam, MakerSlide. One could say DIYLilCNC, but I think they might be defunct now.

    • Bob D says:

      I’ve backed five successful projects (two of them hardware projects) on Kickstarter. They all delivered, more-or-less on time.

      What you have is called Confrimation Bias. If you read HaD, all you’re seeing is the very few number of projects that blow up.

    • Bradley says:

      I backed two projects. Both ran off with my money. Not Cool.

    • Paul says:

      I used Kickstarter to launch Teensy 3.0, which is a 32 bit ARM-based board aiming for Arduino compatibility. It’s currently selling, with orders shipping same day from stock. The software is in active development, with most Arduino functions working and several libraries ported, and more on the way.

  12. Justin says:

    Their stackable configuration reminds me off Cluso’s Stackable Blades (Parallax props) :

    http://www.clusos.com/home/1994.html

    Re the quotes: isn’t Kickstarter responsible for vetting this stuff. I can understand it’s a volume thing, but now they’ve been notified and acknowledged reception I don’t see how they can ignore it.

    What bothers me, though, is their enthusiasm for the Electric Imp. That thing has lock-in written all over it.

  13. st2000 says:

    I think this is one of those gray areas where people’s opinions can influence KickStarter.

    These links discuss accountability of failed project. But what is said could easily be extended to accountability of the claims a project makes. (BTW, I think the current KickStarter policy is not to post vapor-ware projects):

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/09/03/160505449/when-a-kickstarter-campaign-fails-does-anyone-get-their-money-back

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/04/kickstarter-co-founders-we-take-accountability-very-seriously/

  14. kalleguld says:

    0xFred: the game FTL: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/64409699/ftl-faster-than-light

    On-topic: morals aside, this could hurt Kickstarter if they don’t take swift action. When choosing to fund a Kickstarter, you have no guarantee it’s gonna materialize, you only have the names of the creators. If this info is no longer trustworthy, you have nothing left to hold on to.

  15. LJR says:

    How do you vet panhandlers? Kickstarter’s genius has been to figure out a way to make money off hare brained ideas that wouldn’t stand a chance otherwise. To do that they just welcome all the little fishies in with gently smiling jaws. We can blather on about what Kickstarter’s “ethical” obligations might be but, in the end, any crass crumb with an idea can get a project started.

    The only thing that Kickstarter will respond to is bad publicity on Facebook and Twitter about folks losing money on funded projects that never materialize. DMCA issues like this? Nah! They don’t care. They’re in it for the money, not the ethics.

  16. Whatnot says:

    It’s in their own interest to not become a haven for scams, because not only will their organization die but they might incur real lawsuits along the way.
    I think someone should point out that simple truth, and I’m sure they try a little harder to have at least some basic involvement.

    Nevertheless I do see how the main culprit is the guy who runs that project and it would be normal for the arduino people to at least first contact him and ask him to play nice and change the wording.

  17. Well, there’s lots of Arduino clones out there – that’s how OSHW works. This one clearly brings some value-add as it’s funded 7x over. They just need to drop the “we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy” bullshit and change the name to avoid trademark infringement. Should be good to go then.

    • Dimitri Albino says:

      Jeff, what you didn’t notice is that it is real that we were involved in the manufacturing of Arduino, and the pictures and invoices we published are quite an evidence, and there is not infringement of the trademark in the name. Everything is good already, and it’s this that make a no sense all this noise.

      I’ve just finished an interview with Wired and a question was: do you think Kickstarter had any responsibility? What the hell no! Because there is nothing wrong in all this. It’s all true. is it so hard to read, see pictures, check documents, and understand that everybody is getting some wrong opinion because a person wrote something unreal on his blog and then closed the comments when it came out the truth and most of the readers were against him?

      • Pb_ft says:

        Look, no one really cares about whether or not your assertions of previous employment are true; it’s not really germane here. The point is the allegations that you’re causing brand confusion with your smARtDUINO logo, and you’re using the trademark, or a very similar analogue, without permission from the actual current producers of the ARDUINO. It doesn’t matter if you built it before because the hardware may be open source, but the trademark is not. Therefore, it’s a legal question now, not a question of truth.

        While we’re here, you are overstating your involvement with the creation of ARDUINO in my opinion. Having your hand in a partbin of a partbin is like saying you helped hit a home run because you supplied the bat boy with bats. It’s a bit of a stretch, obviously used for a marketing gimmick and marketing is just disingenuity with a budget – you’re not doing much to help that gross generalization become better either.

        • dan says:

          brand confusion how exactly?

          Think about why people buy Arduino and what they want when they buy it, they want quality design. they want quality manufacturing.

          well the design is open source, Arduino already allowed their competitors their design.
          the claim we manufactured arduinos is what it is. we worked on the line. we crafted the quality product that you all know and love, back this and you can expect similar results in terms of quality of engineering as the official ardiono. in fact we can guarantee that you can expect the same workmanship because we’re actually ex-engineers from the factory.

          the part about the orders,
          you could perhaps refute that employing ex-engineers from a company makes your company as good as the company you’ve soaked up staff from. but then the guy shows that he works as a component supplier to board makers. again, it’s not a confusion, it’s a statement of fact meant to engender warm feeling regarding the sort of quality you can expect in the product.

          but the name smARtDUINO. yeah, that’s just being a bit of an ass…
          but again, Arduino, allow the whatever-you-like-duino, why not the smartduino? writen all in lower case it’s not quite such a problem is it?

          as for massiomo telling it like it is:
          “We’re thinking that’s a little generous. It’s more like hiring two people who used to restock the vending machines in a Foxconn plant and claiming you used to build Apple computers.”

          interesting to see what he thinks of the staff that he employs to sell cheap chips soldered to expensive boards.

          Storm in a teacup.
          I’m not surprised that Kickstart did nothing, because there is nothing wrong with the product.
          it’s name doesn’t infringe, it’s description only confuses fools

      • PatrikD says:

        What Massimo said in his post is that you “hired two factory workers who used to work for one of the many suppliers that our manufacturing partner uses”. Was that incorrect? Nothing in your latest blog post seems to refute that. That still seems very far removed from being able to claim that you are Arduino’s “former manufacturer”.

        • barabbint says:

          He also posted some bills related to Arduino manufacturing, that have nothing to do with the two hired guys.

          • Zeta says:

            OK. So, you guys got a contract to solder pin headers to some XBee PRO modules and you think can now claim you manufactured Arduinos? LOL
            When reading the claims on your site and posts it seems like you guys think hackers so stupid that wont realize that all you say is bullshit.

          • barabbint says:

            Weren’t they involved in the manufacturing process? I admit the wording would have been chosen more carefully, but he technically *is* a former manufacturer.

  18. jdarling says:

    My two cents are quite simple; KickStarter recently stated that they would start policing new projects and not allowing multiples and other such things as incentives for backing. If they can police that, then they can take responsibility for blatant infringement and at least be a proper arbiter.

    In the case where a product owner has brought up the infringement then they would be the arbiter. I’ll bet if someone did take the Ford name in a literal and Ford proper got in touch with KickStarter that they would block that project in a heartbeat.

    • BBotany says:

      Hmmm… cut the bed off of totaled pickups and weld them to the back of bike frame to make a “trike with more utility”. The FjORD project is born…

      Fabulous. If Kickstarter lets the smaARmtDUINO project slide, who’s in?

      On a less facetious note, Kickstarter is hopefully offering to forward mail to the project so that *paper* mail can be used in the trademark enforcement process. Because this situation screams “cease and desist using our trademarks”, and an online comment box or email doesn’t cut it as a communications channel. As a regular Joe I would be willing to consider refusing that to be acting as an accessory by facilitating the violation of the trademark. Which would matter not one whit were Kickstarter not in a trial by jury country.

  19. John C. says:

    Once kickstarter.com was notified of the trademark infringement and false claims, THEY have an obligation to correct the issue on their site. I don’t feel they have the obligation to vet each posting. This would be far too costly and prone to error due to lack of subject matter expertise.

    Correcting the issue could mean taking down the kickstarter, or even simpler to change the name and some wording… Instead of saying “For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy.”, they could say something like “For years the ARDUINO was manufactured in Italy.” Of course they’d still need to change the name or get permission from [Massimo]. OR just list it as an Arduino compatible.

    Kickstarter’s customers are being deceived – however small it is, it’s still deception… kickstarter.com is the host. Kickstarter is the responsible party.

  20. Charlie says:

    I would say that while Kickstarter doesn’t have the resources needed to police everyone on their site for truth (and shouldn’t be expected to do so), when an issue DOES arise, they should take a mediator type role and work with both parties to come to a simple solution if possible. If that means changing a claim on the page, then so be it. if it involves mass copywrite or patent infringement, then Kickstarter would have the right to remove the page in full.

  21. Parko says:

    “smARtDUINO: Open System by former ARDUINO’s manufacturer”
    HA. fail

  22. Doug R says:

    If Kickstarter wants to stay strong and relevant then they have an obligation to themselves and their general users to make sure the people using Kickstarter are legit. Kickstarter is doing great right now, but it wouldn’t take much for them to get the reputation for hosting scams and ripoffs. They are already seeing some controversy related to this.

    People fund Kickstarter projects because they like the idea and feel good about what they are doing. Any hint of it being a scam and kickstarter could lose all credibility very quickly. They need to get on top of this as quickly as possible.

    I disagree with this being too much effort. A general inspection of new projects and a process to investigate complaints wouldn’t take that many people to staff and the risk of what could happen if they don’t do it is VERY high.

  23. Alexander says:

    There are several questions here which should be solved or at least thought about before someone accuses the project creator or Kickstarter. Here are only three:

    First: Is Arduino a trademark and when yes is it owned by the person who wrote to Kickstarter? (My investigation tends me to believe the answer is NO)

    Second: Is the project a violation of this trademark. (According to what is written on the arduino website how they would like to have the brand name Arduino be used – I would say NO)

    Third: Why did Massimo as a upright man not contact the project creator and asked him to change (or verify in the case of manufacturing) what he wrote instead of waiting four weeks and then ranting and sending lawyers after him?

    • 1) Yes it is, and Massimo Banzi is the head of the organization that owns it.

      2) It’s quite clear that the smARtDUINO name is deliberately constructed to cause confusion. That makes it a violation of trademark.

      3) It’s clear Massimo went to some trouble to verify the facts of the case (including figuring out who Dmitri actually is) before publicly shaming him. He has not sent lawyers after anyone.

      • barabbint says:

        1) fair enough
        2) it is constructed to recall the original; stating that it is constructed to create confusion is your speculation – I don’t think a lot of backers would state they got confused.
        3) facts prove you wrong. For example he incorrectly stated that the society behind smARtDUINO was non existing, when in fact it was. Also, there are legal documents in the wild, check the posts around.

        • MoFoQ says:

          shoot…I’m not a backer of smartduino and I wasn’t confused (I thought the name itself, not necessarily the capitalizations were clever) not to mention probably expected since according to Wiki, the name of the manufacturer is “Smart Projects” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino#Official_hardware) and even more so if the creators thought this was a “smarter” way to go…

          Even still, the word “Arduino” is a name…a first name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino_%28disambiguation%29

          That said, it did initially give me a funny taste in my mouth…one of those “wait a minute…this might be fishy”…but once I saw the “Smart Projects” part and knowing that things sometimes don’t translate well…I’ve come to my own conclusion that some of this may be from a misunderstanding or mistranslation.
          I believe that the way that smartduino was capitalized also may have contributed to this.
          They just need someone with design skills to make them a better and smarter logo to emphasize that it is a “-duino” and not an “Arduino” per the official policy of the Genericized trademark (essentially, like using “jell-o” or “xerox” to refer to a gelatin snack and photocopying or even “bandaid” to refer to prepared bandages)
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino#Arduino-compatible_boards)

          either way, I smell bad blood between the two groups as well.

    • Zeta says:

      2) Read the FAQ on it’s kickstarter page. It clearly states that several consumers got confused and had to ask the owner of the project it he was actually affiliated with Arduino. thouse who asked are the ones who saw something wrong but there are several more that simply got confussed and didn’t realize it was a scam.

  24. my-two-cents says:

    Going after kickstarter here is like going after ford because you got robbed and the thugs got away in a escort. It wouldn’t be any easier for kickstarter, then for ford, or apple or any other company to ensure nothing bad or wrong or illegal is ever done with their products. If someone does something illegal, go after that person, not the company used.

    • ajford says:

      Your comparison doesn’t apply… This isn’t like Ford going after thugs getting away in Ford vehicles, it’s more like suing a store who knowingly sold you knock-off merchandise.

      KickStarter can easily refund everybody’s money, as they would if the project didn’t reach it’s funding, and take down the project. They could even place the project on hold until the dispute is resolved, then either take it down or resume the funding.

  25. ThatOneGuy says:

    Its not Kickstarters responsibility to police everyone’s projects. If someone has a problem with something, take it up with the responsible party. You don’t blame the road for the lady yacking on the phone and crashing into you.

  26. ThatOneGuy says:

    I should add, I’m a little disturbed by people not wanting to take responsibility these days. If you have an issue with something, deal with it. Its not other peoples’ responsibility to deal with your problems for you.

  27. Mike M says:

    I have stopped buying/selling on kickstarter. Their policies are all over the place, not equally enforced and their customer/seller support is downright rude.

  28. Velli says:

    To hell with Kickstarter. Anyone signing their emails with “best” gets a kick in the balls.

  29. Jeremy says:

    It came out that Chris Anderson, the former Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, published pictures that actually are the evidence that those people were really working on the manufacturing of Arduino, in the official factory!!!

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

    It looks like it can be true that they have been involved, if they are working in the factory that is officially reported as the one doing the manufacturing by a so important person. And they also published invoices of their work for Arduino.

    What if they actually didn’t lie and we all assumed it just because one of the members of Team Arduino wrote it?

    • Pb_ft says:

      Still don’t care because it’s still possible trademark infringement.

    • barabbint says:

      indeed, what if that was the case?

    • PatrikD says:

      “smARtDUINO: Open System by former ARDUINO’s manufacturer”

      “Project by Dimitri Albino”

      Is Dimitri Albano a former ARDUINO’s manufacturer? Or has he merely, as Massimo claims “hired two factory workers who used to work for one of the many suppliers that our manufacturing partner uses.”

      • Dave B says:

        He publicly posted invoices that show his company was indeed contracted to produce official arduino parts.

        So, it seems that Massimo is incorrect on this accusation.

        • PatrikD says:

          No, they did some contract work for Arduino’s official manufacturer in Italy. I don’t think anyone has ever denied that, so I don’t see why those invoices are relevant. But that doesn’t make them an Arduino manufacturer. Heck, it’s probably a trademark violation in itself to call themselves an “Arduino manufacturer”.

          Sounds like they’re getting contacted by the lawyers of the actual Arduino manufacturer in Italy, which may actually have a separate trademark infringement claim against them as well.

    • Zeta says:

      So a few of their workers worked on a factory that soldered some headers and connectors on some shields, that does not qualify them to claim they manufactured Arduinos.

  30. my-two-cents says:

    Sounds like someone shows up on kickstarter saying “I’ve been making product A all these years” then someone else tells kickstarter “no I’ve been making product A not him” and everyone thinks that kickstarter can just know which one is telling the truth and fix it? The disputes aren’t for kickstarter to solve, they are a platform, not a judge and jury.

  31. CraigBurden says:

    Kickstarter needs to screen projects! Imagine someone came on there with a project to build VW cars with a different name. Surely they would offer an objection to that!

    The other problem I have here is that there really isn’t any innovation in this project! They claim to have made the “world’s first quad-core Arduino”, I personally have built a few myself already. All it is, is four cores communicating with I2C… All they have really done is premade making things! Half the fun of building something with an Arduino or anything for that matter is the process of building a circuit. Maybe that is just me, but I saw this project a while back and decided not to pledge because of its lack of anything new and exciting.

    I hope that KS will remove the project and refund all as if it had not been funded. If I were part of Arduino I would also get a lawyer involved, just as a precaution, to prevent further development of the platform

    • Kris Lee says:

      Perhaps you misunderstand the innovation here. I believe you that you built an “quad-core Arduino” but did you make it available to others? Did you tell about it to anybody?

      Can you imagine that for a lot of people working with arduinos (the problem here and in similar cases is that the same of the product tends to grow into a common word – see “googling”) does not involve daydreaming about designing one?

      For those people this is clear innovation here.

  32. Chuckt says:

    You are worried about 982 customers? As far as I know, money has changed hands and therefore there is a legal obligation to distribute those products. There is nothing that Kickstarter can do now.

    As far as being approachable, Massimo hasn’t answered his emails but expects Kickstarter to answer theirs.

    • Alexander says:

      I think in this smartbus created by those guys is a lot of potential market.
      It will help us makers to switch between controllers as we need, use more shields but with very small form factor and everything will be cheap enough not to rip done projects apart. And in front of all they are going to sell from Asia, Europe and America and are able to produce more than 50 differnet shields right away.
      I think Massimo believes the same and tries to kick them before its to late.

  33. m1ndtr1p says:

    Sounds more like he was saying WE (As in we here in Italy) have created the Arduino, and not, WE (As in we personally) created the Arduino… To me it sounds like a misunderstanding more than anything, and I’m sure those who created the kickstarter will be more than happy to change the wording.

  34. Francesco says:

    Did you guys even bother to read the comments to that blog-post, that had to be stopped because they were backfiring heavily?

  35. Chris C. says:

    I’m surprised no one else seems to have noticed. Not even [Massimo]! Even with issues of trademark infringement aside, this project clearly violates Kickstarter policy. The only policing required to have kept this off KS in the first place would be to read the project description, which is something KS should be doing anyway. I quote:

    “Why Kickstarter?

    We created a product that we will produce and distribute, anyway. We have chosen Kickstarter because we think it hosts a very important community of people that have real passion for technology.”

    So they don’t need KS funding in order to launch their product at all, which is KS’ intended purpose. They’re only using KS as a store. KS has claimed repeatedly they’re not a store, and not to be used as one. Of course in reality, this proves to be only a legal dodge to avoid liability; and KS will happily function as a store anyway, as long as they can collect their fees without too many questions being asked.

    Liars attract liars. Down with Kickstarter.

    • anonymous says:

      The copied blurb does not violate the terms or the intention of Kickstarter. Read their “Guidelines” page. They encourage “projects, projects, projects”.

      It’s called “Kickstarter” because it’s meant to “kick start” a product. Whether that product was going to be produced anyway is irrelevant.

      And what’s with all the Kickstarter bashing? Any site that tries to do this is going to have success and failures. Do you think the world would really be a better place if Kickstarter didn’t exist? There are many project that have thrived through this model. Even so, it’s a risky venture and the people donating to a project need to be aware of the risk.

  36. Rick says:

    Actually in my eyes Kickstarter is nothing more than an electronic version of a bulletin board or in more modern terms something akin to Craigslist. It is up to the investor/buyer to make sure these people are who they say they are and deliver what they say they can.

  37. ferux says:

    I am a backer and I have been following discussion about this for most of today. As a matter of fairness, I believe it would be fair to report their version as well: http://smartduino.com/do-you-know-mr-chris-anderson/

  38. barabbint says:

    I am a backer of the project, and I have been following the discussion about this for most of today. For fairness, I believe it would be fair to report their version as well: http://smartduino.com/do-you-know-mr-chris-anderson/

    • barabbint says:

      apologies for the double post, my intent was not to spam. When posts were being filtered (censored?), I submitted twice by mistake remembering my WordPress credentials in the process.

  39. vic says:

    “Crowd funding” is just a business like another now. And like any business they don’t care what is wrong or right, true or false, as long as it increases their collected fees.

  40. CrashSerious says:

    “We’re thinking Kickstarter has an obligation to vet their projects and make sure the creators of these projects are who they say they are.”

    I agree with what you are saying, in principle. However, careful with what you guys wish for… what you end up with on the other end of teh spectrum is akin to Ebay’s VERO system. (Shutdown anything a copyright holder complains about… try selling your Tiffany bracelet on Ebay and you will get a guaranteed encounter with them.)

  41. mowcius says:

    Has anyone actually read all the comments over on that link?

    Massimo (as per usual) has got himself over stressed and not actually read things through properly.

    The Arduino system is all open source, as it has to be, being originally taken from Processing (for the IDE) and Wiring (for the hardware implementation, which is mainly forgotten about nowadays) both of which are open source, so anyone can make a copy.

    The guy making this thing obviously doesn’t have the greatest English language skills and seems prepared to change any wording as required to stop anything he has written from being factually incorrect.

    The only real issue here is Kickstarter’s response to the email Massimo sent to them. Whether dubious or not, they should be investigating things like that and not just telling people to sort it out themselves.

    • anonymous says:

      I don’t believe Massimo is stressed out about them using the open source code, he’s stressed out about them using the Arduino brand for their marketing when they have no affiliation with Arduino. I believe he’s also stressed out about them clearly infringing on his trademark, which is separate from a copyright issue.

      smArtDUINO is either on the edge of violating trademark or is clearly violating Arduino’s trademark, since their name might be legitimately be confused with the Arduino brand . Putting the Arduino name on their board is (at least to me) a clear violation of the Arduino trademark.

  42. Kris Lee says:

    I see that there are two issues. Claim that they are the former manufactorer of Arduino (I think that this is similar if Foxconn claimed that they are the manufactorer of iPhone).

    I do not know if this is true but this is what they claim http://smartduino.com/do-you-know-mr-chris-anderson/

    Another problem is the trademark question. Is their name distinct enough? In what form should the compatibility with the Arduino mentioned? http://smartduino.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Screen-Shot-2012-11-27-at-3.18.38-AM-1024×640.png

    Besides of this I think that Hack a Day should do more serious and careful journalism or just stay shut.

    • Kris Lee says:

      I should add a correction. They do not claim that they are former manufactorer of Arduino. I will copy the description from the Kickstarter.

      *Who created smARtDUINO?*

      We started our company over 15 years ago in the north of Italy, in a very small town. Our company used to be a contractor for the manufacturing of Arduino™ and, a couple of years ago, some important staff left the factory that manufactured the Arduino™ to join us. With this transition we gain a lot of experience in this field.

      • Alex Hummel says:

        While true, it is quite a bit below the apparent claim (to me at least) that they manufactured ARDUINO. I will also copy from the Kickstarter, directly below the main graphic.

        For years we manufactured the ARDUINO in Italy. Now we created a new Open System: modular, scalable, the world’s cheapest and smallest!

      • bandit says:

        They MANUFACTURED (meaning they made the physical item) the Arduino. they have invoices to back this up – see their blog. Now, the ability to MANUFACTURE such things takes a fair amount of skill and expertise. They appear to have it – a very important point to make to their backers.

        They CREATED the smartduino. Meaning they did the design of many boards and a complete bus system. (Although not a new concept, it is a really good design – I am an embedded systems engineer and created a similar concept a few yeas ago for my then employer.) Only ONE board out of many is an arduino clone.

        Two different skill sets, and they have both. I wish I knew about this when they were still open – I would have backed them. Outstanding job. I hope this tempest-in-a-teapot can be resolved by both sides acting reasonably.

        • Kris Lee says:

          The invoices actually do not show that they (the company) produced Arduinos but some Arduino shields. But they claim to employ at least two workers that were involved working with Arduinos.

          It is not black and white but it is still a quite understandable case even for more general public because the origin of the Arduino is well known.

          Now should Kickstarter be somehow involved into this kind of dispute even when the background of the story may be much more fuzzy?

          Another issue is a possible trademark infringement. These things are usually disputed in the court. Should Kickstarter take over the role of the judge in the similar cases?

          • bandit says:

            Point taken about the specific invoices. However, the skills are *exactly* the same. Surface mount PCBs are surface mount PCBs. And – these boards are not real complex, double-sided surface mount PCBs as is common with, for example, disc drive PCBs.

            And he posted only a few invoices. If one wanted to get *really picky*, I suspect he could produce invoices with Arduinos on them.

            But – a board with an atmel and USB connector has the same complexity of manufacturing skill as an ethernet chip and an ethernet connector. AND – they are part of the Arduino ecosystem.

  43. adam says:

    I have no problem with arduino variants being put on kickstarter. I have my own i was considering running because i think it fills a role well. What i have a problem with is that these people make it sound like they are rhe originators of the Arduino boards and this is the next evolution. If they disclosed that they just worked in the factory then there would be no problem. But they are lying to the people funding them.

    • bandit says:

      They are completely open and above board in stating the MANUFACTURED Arduinos, and give proper credit and praise to Team Arduino. They did not lie. Read the comments by those who are backers. I read the entire Kickstarter page. What they are doing is very clear.

      The point of mentioning the MANUFACTURING is to display competence and skill in making surface-mount PCB’s – a fairly specialized and exacting set of skills.

  44. Mike says:

    I don’t think the smARtDUINO people are handling this issue very maturely…. with their defensive post on their blog (the way it’s written gave me a childish feeling), along with all their comments on Kickstarter clearly showing how they don’t like HackADay – they seem to be making a lot of enemies really fast.

    • Chris C. says:

      No kidding. Accusing HAD of slamming this only because they weren’t sent a free sample? And that HAD is refusing to let him post comments? As a first-time commenter, he has to wait for a human moderator to approve it as an anti-spam measure, just like everyone else. Now that his comment is actually up, I bet he won’t even post a retraction to that accusation.

      • barabbint says:

        Wonder why his comment took way longer than the others.

        • barabbint says:

          hint: now HAD disabled moderation, probably to avoid risking losing its face

          • Caleb Kraft says:

            you can stop with the conspiracy. All new commentors or comments with 2 or more links go to moderation. Once you’re approved the go faster. Someone isn’t sitting on the moderation queue every second of the day.

          • barabbint says:

            Ok, theory confirmed. I apologize for my bad thinking. Stays the fact that the article is extremely partial and opinionated, and doesn’t leave any space to the attacked part.

        • Zeta says:

          Dear Dimitri barabbint, you mean your comments?
          have a nice day

          • mjcpk says:

            Yes, it seems rather dubious that he has accidentally used at least 3 different names and even agrees with one of his own posts using a different name.

            There are also a couple of posters here with the same poor English as Dimitri which look like an attempt to pretend they have more support than they do.

            On the KickStarter issue I would like to think that they take their reputation seriously. It seems to me that there is an element of trust engendered by their name and a project being associated with them. I would hope that if someone felt they had been misled that they would get their money back if they asked for it.

          • barabbint says:

            I am not Dimitri, darling – without being offensive, I really hope my English reads a bit better than his. But I am apparently the only one here who backed his project on KS, and followed all of his updates. The guy is not a scam artist, and the people who gave him money didn’t do it because they thought it was the Arduino guys – and I invite you to read the comments of his backers.

    • barabbint says:

      The posts on this blog were being filtered until a second ago. Don’t you think the different tone between the comments here (filtered) and the ones on the original blog-post on arduino.cc (unfiltered) is very different? There is (was?) some censorship in place on HAD.

  45. These guys are entirely wrong to claim such things, and Massimo is entirely right to be upset. However, forcing kickstarter to police such projects is a large burden – researching every member of every team on every project to check for such inaccurate claims is an impossible task. Perhaps a more scalable solution is to create some way to log an actual complaint with kickstarter that does not get ignored. Overall both kickstarter and the project guys are looking pretty childish right now – one for not being helpful in any way and another for (perhaps legally but) sleazily attempting to ride on arduino’s coattails

  46. Addidis says:

    In the end the reputation of the company they worked for that made arduinos loses the most imho. They are doing something wrong if their employees are leaving to rip off the designs of the companies who contracted their services. The people who should be really angry is the company that (legit) Arduino contracted, since it is clear you cannot trust them to manufacture your design. This is one reason I will never make things in china. If I was the arduino team I would make sure people knew exactly what company was involved in this. You won’t get much but harsh words from the individuals involved but drag in the former employer who enabled this to happen and they have a bit more to lose from tarnishing their reputations.
    Worth noting tindie has some space saving duinos that have not drawn ire for their methods that are already produced.

    • Nick Johnson says:

      1) The Arduino design is open-source. You don’t have to work at the factory where they’re assembled to find the design.
      2) They did not rip off the design; their form factor is totally different.

      • Addidis says:

        I think it becomes relevant the minute the people involved used the association to sell their product. You won’t get much from Kickstarter imho, but clearly involving that company will get results.

        • arachnidster says:

          Potential trademark infringement and attempting to trade on the Arduino name are a completely separate issue. You accused them of ripping off the Arduino, and somehow breaching Arduino’s trust when they manufactured the design – as if they were stealing trade secrets. Neither of those apply here.

  47. qwerty says:

    The smartduino guys stretched it a bit to say the least when they claimed they manufactured the original Arduino. All it needed was 5 minutes to change the wording, something they didn’t because they clearly aim at making potential buyers associate them with the original Arduino, which their chosen company name also confirms.
    The Arduino CEO involving a lawyer into the question was also a huge PR mistake: a real catastrophe IMO. You never ever involve lawyers when you value what opinion hackers/makers have on you.

    I’m so glad I never used an Arduino or some of its clones, and probably never will.

  48. tz2026 says:

    The comments below the discussion are worth a read.

    First, Kickstarter, if it doesn’t want to get renamed FraudStarter needs to have some ability to intervene. They are reminding me of PayPal and why I will never use them – the customer non-service, no phone numbers, fax your utility bill at 2am next Thursday type of stuff. A real business will respond with something more than a bot.

    That said, (sm)AR(t)DUINO oversteps the trademark line. It isn’t some well known firm named “smart” like seeed, or with a function like “NetDuino”. It may be a small thing, but there is a line somewhere, and I don’t think if it was called smart-bus-DUINO or something that didn’t contain and emphasize ARDUINO there would be an issue.

    Also they overstepped saying they (were responsible for?) manufactured the Arduino. I don’t know their exact role nor has that been clarified, but it wasn’t like the CEO after seeing the Arduino’s success spun off this company. Maybe one of them was the janitor in the factory. This was at the top, not in a curriculum vitae section in the FAQ.

    It reads – unless you already know a lot and read a lot deeper as “From the makers of the Arduino, a new and smarter Arduino…”. With any difference in the mouseprint.

    I don’t think if they wrote “Located in China” above the “manufacture” section they would have as much interest, or at least they would have more questions.

    Omission can be dishonesty.

    I don’t think a takedown as such is in order, but they should change the name of the project and clarify things in the brief description.

    And Kickstarter needs to be more responsive.

  49. Robot says:

    I’ve grown to really dislike kickstarter. . . it has become a vehicle for industrial designers to have their little misinformed wet dream come to life with all of the heavy lifting done by engineers and manufacturers in China. Appalling.

    Then, if they deliver at all, it will be late and half of what they promised.

    Meanwhile, other people are using kickstarter for really cool things like starting hacker spaces and launching products that are engineered, sourced and manufactured in the United States.

    Outsourcing in fine but to present something as being local only to send the bulk of the money overseas isn’t okay, or at least, it isn’t okay for me.

    • Kris Lee says:

      I’m just wondersing that why is that those (I suppose US) industrial designers can not do the same with engineers and manufactures from US?

      Why is it easier for them to go with the service from China? Or why they think that it is easier for them?

      But I agree with you that pretending something being local is crossing the line.

      • Robot says:

        Good questions Kris.

        To the credit of Chinese manufacturing, it can be a very simple process to have a simple conceptual design and let the manufacturers and their engineering staff “own” the technical aspects of the design. Their staff engineers know all capabilities of the manufacturers and can probably walk down the block to vendors of batteries, IC’s and the like. It is much harder and more expensive to do that here. However, as an consumer who wants a quality product with a long life span, I want a company or individual to go to those lengths.

        A good industrial designer should be interested in the entire life cycle of the product and have a vested interest in the quality of every component in the design. Designers these days are so enamored with what they can create in Solid Works that many have abdicated their responsibility to understand the technical aspects of their design. That is lazy and bad design. Letting a factory “own” all of the engineering is bad design. Good design means being invested in the quality of the batteries and concerned that they will last 6 years, not 6 months. Once those considerations are honored in the design process, it becomes more desirable to engineer, source and manufacture locally.

        Apple and VW are probably good counter examples of high quality outsourced products. . . so obviously there are flaws in my opinions.

    • bigalexe says:

      WTF are you talking about? Are you saying people just use Kickstarter to pay Chinese engineers to design stuff? You really don’t have anything there that backs up what you say about Kickstarter being a vehicle for US Industrial Designers to build stuff in China.

      • Robot says:

        Yes, I am saying that there a good number of designers who draw something up in Solid Works, write a spec. and farm out the engineering and manufacturing to China. An example of this process gone badly is +knob.

        Speaking from first hand experience, I have consulted on four stressful campaigns; two of which did everything locally and two of which chose to send the hard work to China. Interestingly enough, the two “locally” sourced campaigns have managed to deliver on time while the other two have not (but will come through in the end.)

        Before you ask, I won’t name the campaigns but I invite you to brows Kickstarter and see for yourself how many of them actually disclose where their design, engineering and manufacturing takes place.

        So. . . clicking on the first 6 links in the Technology section of Kickstarter we have:

        They don’t specify but in this case, I know the manufacturing is done in China. (They have some really talented people doing the design and engineering locally.)

        In house prototyping (good on them), “outsource” manufacturing with a company headquartered in the US.

        Locally sourced engineering and possibly locally sourced manufacturing.

        Domestically sourced engineering, outsourced manufacturing engineering and manufacturing

        Some domestically sourced engineering, outsourced manufacturing engineering and manufacturing

        Domestically sourced engineering, domestic and outsourced manufacturing engineering and manufacturing

        I am willing to wager the this limited sample reflects the general trend of Kickstarter campaigns as a whole.

        What you got?
        – Robot

  50. John says:

    “We’re thinking that’s a little generous. It’s more like hiring two people who used to restock the vending machines in a Foxconn plant and claiming you used to build Apple computers.”

    Massimo said it exactly like it is, but I guess you guys were aching to unleash some terrible hyperbole. I literally LOLed at (yes “at”, not with) the above quoted text.

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