Arduino V Arduino: Part II

Since our last article covering the Arduino v. Arduino case, we’ve received a couple of tips, done some more digging, and learned a lot more about what’s going on. We thought it was time to share the story with you as it develops.

The Players

In short, there are two companies calling themselves “Arduino” at the moment. One, Arduino LLC was founded by [Massimo Banzi], [David Cuartielles], [David Mellis], [Tom Igoe] and [Gianluca Martino] in 2009, runs the website, and has been directing and releasing the code that makes it all work. Most of these folks had been working together on what would become the Arduino project since as early as 2005.

The other “Arduino” used to be called Smart Projects and was the manufacturing arm of the project founded and run by [Gianluca Martino]. Smart Projects changed their name to Arduino SRL in November 2014. (A “Società a responsabilità limitata” is one form of Italian limited-liability company.) They have been a major producer of Arduino boards from the very beginning and recently registered the domain

Around the time of the name change [Martino] sold his shares to a Swiss firm Gheo SA and [Federico Musto] was appointed CEO. Gheo SA is owned and directed by [Musto], who also runs a design consultancy based in the US and Taiwan called dog hunter, LLC.

dog hunter and [Musto] helped develop the Arduino Yun, a mashup of an Arduino with an OpenWRT-compatible WiFi router. dog hunter also runs the website to support the Linux distribution that’s running on the router part of the Yun.

In short, on one side is Arduino LLC, run by the original Arduino Five and hosting On the other is now called Arduino SRL, run by a former co-developer [Federico Musto] who bought out the largest producer of Arduino boards and opened up

The Legal Situation

When we previously reported that Arduino LLC brought a lawsuit against Arduino SRL, we only had half of the story. This suit, filed in January 2015 and still pending, is predated by an earlier trademark action filed by Arduino SRL against Arduino LLC.

The trademark case is a petition to cancel Arduino LLC’s trademark on Arduino, filed by Smart Projects SRL on October 3, 2014. This case is also still pending, and because it’s in front of the USPTO, it’s entirely visible. Here’s what we know.

The claims to invalidate Arduino LLC’s trademark on “Arduino” (PDF) can basically be summarized as follows: “We filed for trademark in September of 2014 and have been producing boards labelled Arduino since 2005. Arduino LLC only came into being in 2009 and wasn’t in control of the name at the time it applied for the trademark.”

To which Arduino LLC’s response (PDF) essentially reads “We’ve had the trademark on the word Arduino longer than you have, and we deny all the rest.”

The timeline for the case is laid out here (PDF). Basically, the discovery phase lasts until June 2015, and there’s not going to be a decision until after Christmas unless they settle early.

We’re not lawyers, but it looks like the case is going to revolve around whether or not Arduino LLC actually controlled the “Arduino” name at the time it trademarked it, and whether the extensive production of boards labelled “Arduino” by Smart Projects invalidates that trademark. The relevant trademark law can be found here and if you know your stuff on this, please feel free to illuminate us in the comments or with a direct e-mail to us directly or through the tip line.

So to recap the story so far, two websites, two “Arduinos”, and two lawsuits.

A Tale of Two Internets of Things

Not surprisingly, both groups have differing versions of where to go from here, but both sides are betting on the Internet of Things. Arduino LLC has partnered with Intel on the Galileo and more recently is working with on the forthcoming Arduino TRE. Arduino SRL is sticking with the WiFi router MIPS solution that powers the Yun and keeping it in-house.


As previously mentioned, the Yun was at least co-designed with [Musto] and dog hunter. And now on, there’s a placeholder product photo for the “Arduino Yun Mini” with the date April 30, 2015 attached. The Yun Mini looks exactly like the Linino One in a different color scheme, and it doesn’t take much of a hardware detective to put two and two together, given that [Musto] is now CEO of both dog hunter (which runs and Arduino SRL. The Yun Mini is, naturally, conspicuously lacking from the product lineup.



The next step up from the Yun on the site is the Arduino TRE, which is also a Linux-based solution coupled with an ATmega32u4. In this case, however, the Linux computer comes in the form of a 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor, essentially a Beaglebone/Arduino mashup. And one can’t help but notice the tagline on the TRE page: “Arduino TRE, the first Arduino board manufactured in the U.S.” which is a dramatic shift away from the proudly “Made in Italy” silkscreens that adorn the Smart Projects / Arduino SRL boards.

Is this the reason for the schism? Massimo Banzi has said that he’s interested in working with many other producers to get newer and better Arduino products out there and would even like to be able to sell in China, land of the clones. (translate)  [Martino] and now [Musto] clearly have a vested interest in keeping production in Italy, while Arduino LLC’s interests are better served by going global. Perhaps it’s only natural that the two part ways.

The Code

Finally, the story takes a slightly cheeky turn in the most recent version of the Arduino IDE, released on March 10. As of version 1.6.1, there’s been a patch to the Arduino codebase that pops up a warning dialog when an “Arduino” with the USB Vendor ID (VID) 0x2A03 is flashed. The pop-up message reads “This board comes from an uncertified manufacturer. We won’t be able to provide any support if it doesn’t work as expected.”


You may not be surprised that USB VID 0x2A03 belongs to “dog hunter AG”.  The Arduino IDE pops up the “uncertified manufacturer” warning any time that this VID is used, on any board type. Conspicuously missing in all of this are any of the VIDs in use by the various other counterfeit “Arduino” boards running around out there. Either there are too many of them to address directly, or this is a targeted, tactical strike against the Arduino SRL camp.

If you don’t have a board with VID 0x2A03, you can see the changes to the IDE on GitHub for the commit “Added warning for uncertified boards“.  Scroll on down to the changes to the file “hardware/arduino/avr/boards.txt” and you’ll see what’s going on. (And smile if you don’t have to code in Java for a living: nearly 600 lines of code added just to implement a simple pop-up dialog!)

Apparently, at least a couple of people with an UNO and a Mega256 have seen the warning and claim to have bought their devices through reputable retailers, including Mouser.

Now this isn’t an FTDI-style bricking; it’s just a pop-up dialog. What’s even nicer is that it comes with a “Don’t show me again” button so that you’re not constantly nagged. And it does recognize the boards so that they function normally, but it’s definitely a scare for users when they first stumble upon it.

The Future

So what does all of this mean for the future of Arduino as we know it? There’s certainly been a code fork and there are at least two divergent hardware design approaches to the IoT and strategic visions for the two firms. The trademark issues may not be resolved until 2016, though, so in the mean time there’s going to be significant market confusion. Not to mention the two similar websites.

You can certainly bet that both companies will be pushing themselves to get good product to market and trying to keep hold on the community. Maybe that will all be good for us in the end? Post your wild guesses and conspiracy theories in the comments.

We’ll keep you posted when we learn even more.  If you’ve got leads that you’d like us to chase down, hit us up on the tip line.

And thanks very much to [Concerned User] for the tipoff to the trademark filing and to [Another Anonymous Tipster] for the tip to the IDE version 1.6.1 changes.

122 thoughts on “Arduino V Arduino: Part II

    1. People are always bashing java, personally I love it, Java forces you to create objects. Creating objects eliminates code redundancy and makes your code more efficient. The biggest complaints I have with the Arduino IDE is that it’s not compatible with the official Java VM. The entire Arduino core is compiled into your project without any dead code elimination, and the virtual pin mapping adds a significant delay to all pin IO operations. If someone’s opinion on Java code was based only on how it was implemented in the Arduino IDE, then they could not help but hate it.

          1. It is, but Chris was clearly talking as if Arduino code was written in Java:

            “The biggest complaints I have with the Arduino IDE is that it’s not compatible with the official Java VM. The entire Arduino core is compiled into your project without any dead code elimination, and the virtual pin mapping adds a significant delay to all pin IO operations. “

      1. I just wanted to mention that Arduino does indeed strip out “dead code” (i.e., functions or data that are not referenced) from the compiled C++ binary that is sent to target.

  1. A nice bit of investigative reporting!

    Wasn’t the former Smart Projects manufacturing Arduino boards under contract to what is now Arduino LLC? It seems rather disingenuous for them to claim that they were using the Arduino name before it was registered if all they were in fact doing was contract manufacturing.

      1. To produce the official Arduinos (trademarks and all) and provide them to Arduino LLC? I certainly expect a contract, or at least a purchase order and invoice, were involves.

    1. My guess is that whether or not there was a contract will be important for the trademark case. Since everybody was friends, there may not have been anything so formal in place.

      And there couldn’t have been any such contract before Arduino LLC was founded, naturally, which means at least a good 3-4 years of producing the boards without contract.

      1. True, though verbal contracts still count, they’re just harder to demonstrate. My point is that they weren’t producing Arduino-labelled boards for themselves, they were doing it in a contractual relationship, so it’s disingenuous to suggest that that counts as them using the trademarked name.

        It’s also telling that they could have objected to the trademark when it was filed, but did no such thing – and continued to build boards for Arduino LLC.

        1. Very true. It’s the essential baseline on the premise of never loaning money to friends. They won’t be friends much longer…someone will get silly somewhere and ruin a good thing.

          If *anything* changed hands to get those boards produced; their claim is dead in the water. Common law (British or otherwise) follows a linear time line. “But we understood/thought…” doesn’t count. If one bought the other a Brio and a slice of pizza, game over.

    1. Yes, indeed, thank you very much.
      You said “but it’s definitely a scare for users when they first stumble upon it.” and yes, oh my yes. I got 4 new Uno’s and a new mega in the mail for some undergrads coming in. Upgraded from 1.6.0 to 1.6.3 for the occasion and starting getting all these “uncertifed” messages. Spent two full days uninstalling reinstalling ; convinced myself it was because of the too-high COM number and learned how to do some Windows 7 regedit and other cmd stuff, and after all that success… still the “uncertified” stuff.
      Then found your article — ahhh, all clear now.
      But in the process I confess to have lost a bit of my love for the charming italian arduino founders. Sigh.

  2. Yet another reason why I stay away from arduino.

    I started seeing them advertised some time ago (before anyone was paying them any attention) in a certain electronics magazines with quarky ads trying to get people to even pronounce the name correctly by comparing it to various people and things. Since the ads looked pretty low rent and there were hundreds of other “microcontroller boards” at the same time, I quickly wrote them off as just another basic stamp imitator and I was already heavily invested in PIC micros and the fact they can be scaled to a project quite nicely vs. shoehorning a whole dev board into my stuff or being stuck with a few select chips. PICs are just a lot more flexible to me.

    Anyway, fast forward several years and I guess those lame ads paid off as now everyone and their infant children are using arduinos.

    But for me, even reading this article made my head hurt with the stupid names they call their different boards, all of which have horrific layouts, some of them are 5V compatible, some only 3.3V. Now there are not only forks in the boards, but forks in the code. I can’t keep it all straight on top of the fact I’m just not into dev board micros.

    I was seriously thinking about getting into arduinos, just so I can at least have a valid opinion of them. But now that looks even more unlikely.

    And I thought these things were supposed to be “open” “for the children” and all of that wishy washy horse shit?

    Let the lawsuits fly I guess…

    1. You can hate Arduino all you want. Heck, I don’t really like Arduino much myself, even using it when I need something done really fast.

      But one thing I can say for sure: I don’t regret moving from PICs to AVRs. Having a gcc compiler tops out any other advantages PICs could have compared to AVRs.

        1. What is it with these people replying just “this”? Don’t you have anything more meaningful to say? Then why say anything at all? Or go ask hackaday for a “like” button on the posts if you’re a facebook addict.

          1. It’s a four letter word. Rearrange the letters. But you have a pure mind -nothing wrong with that or the fact that you are the only girl posting a comment here.

      1. As a PIC user, I’m curious: what benefits do you see to gcc? (Actually, PIC32s use gcc, and I think PIC24/dsPICs do too.)

        My reasons for using PICs: a large selection of microcontrollers in DIP and SOIC packages, including many 32 bit micros, and a very generous free sample policy.

        1. Atmel also has a tremendous number of different microcontrollers in DIP and SOIC, including many 32 bit models, and if you’re an adult with a job you shouldn’t be using the free sample program as your main supply of components anyway. Spend the few dollars, it’s not going to kill you.

          1. macw, I looked for 32 bit Atmel microcontrollers at Digi-Key and didn’t see any in DIPs or SOICs. Which chips are you thinking of?

            And I don’t have a job, but thanks for the input.

          2. By the way, certain companies are happy to give free samples to hobbyists. I was recently contacted by a Maxim employee to find out what project my sample request was for. I explained to him I was a hobbyist and he cheerfully approved my sample request anyway. Microchip seems to have the same attitude.

        2. The main reason to like gcc is that it’s a robust compiler, with good documentation and free.

          The thing I most hated when programming for PICs was that there are various compilers. The official ones had optimizations disabled in the free version, which was not a big problem, but why two official C compilers? I think Microchip is fixing this, but well…

          About 32bit micros, I would use ARMs nowadays. You won’t find them in DIP packages (LPC had one, but I think it was discontinued), but I don’t mind dealing with TQFPs.

          However, I was mostly talking about 8bit mcus in that post.

          PS: I accidentally reported the post when I went to reply to it. Please, ignore the report.

        3. I used to use PICs. Part of the reason I went over to Arduino when they first started to appear was several fold.

          An IDE which while basic did all it needed – with the PICs I was still only programming in machine code mostly as the IDE’s I could find were expensive or very confusing.

          Programming an Aruino is a simple as attaching it to a USB port and hitting upload. The PICs I couldn’t afford the expensive professional programmers so ended up with cheap ones with dodgy software (that often seemed to carry viruses etc.) and they also needed a real serial port.

          Documentation for the Arduino was second to none for me at the time. Every instruction explained with simple examples to help you along. Plus the huge amounts of libraries available

          Overall for me it was easy of use that made the Arduino appealing rather than the conglomerate of bits of hardware and software I had for the PIC.

      2. You may want to take a look at SDCC for PIC. While the pic 16f (PIC14) series doesn’t have great support, it compiles for 18f pics (PIC16) great. So many “comparisons” between pics and arduino (which is a poor comparison in the first place) are based on 16f chips, which don’t hold a candle to their big brothers in the 18f world.

        Not trying to start a fight, just want to try to get the other options more visibility.

    2. @eyes bleeding – Oh come on, just be honest. You’ll never use any microcontroller other than Microship’s PIC. You don’t need a lawsuit or anything else to justify your choice. You can love PICs and use them forever, and that’s perfectly fine. But why be such a hater?

    3. I agree with “eyes bleeding”, as my whole head hurts! Why give daughter or support boards a goofy cartoon name? I am an accomplished electronics tech coming on three decades. I’ve worked with code writers that admit to not knowing anything about the hardware they were writing for, other than the box their code went into. I do my own surface mount rework by hand down to .050″ pitch. I have some projects in mind I would like to put together. With all of the “Todays New Greatest Flavor To End All Flavors” are just dev boards promoted in a lot of cases by slick promises and glitz. Add in what language for anguish! I have subscribed to a few forums, and after several months of reading about this and that not working with this and that, throw in OS’s that don’t work! That FTDI deal was underhanded without lube with M$ blessing. I do not condone counterfeiting but that scenario could have been handled much better. Computers used to be fun but not any more. Windows 10 is chock full of telemetry, personal information gathering and relentless to get installed on your PC for FREE! Red flags come up when a company has built a wealthy empire on license fees and expensive software is giving away a new OS! Remember the FTC getting involved with Intel and Microsoft? Looks like some serious light needs to be shed on silicon and software in regards to “Breaking and Entering”, “Trespassing”, “Harassment”, “Vandalism”….. Think about the pop up ads that don’t go away, back doors, replace your hard drive for a clean install only to find the once sacred BIOS is changed, the list goes on…
      The embedded or small microcontroller industry is looking like the greedy PC market. Open Source is getting less Open and more confusing. I don’t know what most of the acronyms stand for, some sentences are almost half acronyms. Must be an acquired talent based on the coefficient of hair gel and forward angle of spiked hair.

      1. Lawyers and courts are the instruments for resolving conflicts without violence. Shakespeare’s famous quote about killing the lawyers was spoken by someone who wanted to establish a tyranny, and saw lawyers as an impediment to the lawlessness he wished to create.

          1. I don’t think it’s fair to use guns as an analog to lawyers because, as we’d all agree, no one gets killed. That’s a HUGE moral difference.

            I have never been in a court case. Most people haven’t. When I need to do something I’m unfamiliar with, and it’s important I do it well, I’ll hire someone with more skill than I have. I do it for repairing my car, building my house, and yeah, for handling a legal dispute.

            Sure, people with more resources often have an advantage – in many things. Getting rid of the lawyers would not put you on an even footing with a wealthier opponent.

      2. Yup, it’s lawyers.

        They must be forcing Federico Musto buy the company manufacturing Arduino, then put up, and then try to take control of all things Arduino…. all so they can litigate. I’ll bet those lawyers have Musto chained up in some basement, literally forcing him to convert all his Linino products to Arduino brand boards, for no motive other than more exhibits and arguments to make in front of a judge. Nope, there couldn’t possibly be any other reason to underhandedly take over control of Arduino, other than to facilitate a lawsuit!

        Yes sir, the world would be a perfect and happy place without all those damn lawyers. Guys like Musto would collaborate and play nice with groups like Arduino, if only it weren’t for those pesky lawyers and the legal system providing a way to bring a lawsuit over such horrible behavior.

  3. ::sigh:: its hard to be on SRLs side in this when you understand the potential toxicity of some of the moves they have made in this. Its easier to see SRL as the antogonist. Arduino came to be where it is through an open hardware ethos and it doesnt help that their initial flagship product is a board that isn’t ‘open’. Its clear that SRL is attempting to leverage the success of the traditional Arduino with something… …less open.

    If SRL wants to make their own products that is one thing but it should be done umder a different name and the Arduino name should be left with the communtity that established the reputation. The Arduino name has associated connotations of being ‘open hardware’ and the Yun is not open therefore the Arduino name shouldn’t apply.

    1. Well, the manufacturing of a branded arduino boar is pretty strong evidence of potential trademark ownership if neither of the two involved parties registered it.
      Because in order to establish you can either make use of it or register.

      Therefore starting using a trademark is as much powerful as registering, but it is less enforceable in a court….

  4. Doesn’t seem unreasonable for Arduino LLC to have that warning pop up. Arduino SRL’s boards are essentially now a clone, in that they aren’t tied to the original company anymore and testing of the compiler won’t be done on the boards they produce. There could well end up being a bunch of quirks which crop up between the boards created by both, and Arduino LLC doesn’t want to foot the bill for debugging the compiler for another company’s hardware

    1. So why only pop up the warning for SRL boards? There are dozens of cloneduinos out there; seeeduino and digispark are just the first two that spring into my mind. Yet they didn’t add a pop-up to warn people off of those presumably-also-unsupported boards.

      This is a shot straight at SRL, intended to get under the hobbyists’ skin. It may also be a legal ploy, as an attempt to demonstrate they’re “defending their trademark.”

      It’s unfortunate in that this cannot benefit anyone except one of the parties involved, but it can hurt everyone else – not just the losing party. This may result in restrictions on the use of the name Arduino, so that “Arduino compatibility” becomes an expensive tag to add to your project, perhaps causing problems for projects like the Mooltipass. Or it may result in some kind of IP forking, where for legal reasons some piece of the original Arduino behavior becomes a protected feature, preventing future clones from adhering to 100% compatibility; or maybe the ( SRL | LLC ) team adds a cool new feature to their boards that they license but refuse to sell to ( LLC | SRL ). In every case, it pretty much sucks for the rest of us.

      1. >So why only pop up the warning for SRL boards? There are dozens of cloneduinos out there;
        The other dozens aren’t branding their clone boards of companies with the registered trademark of ardiono LLC.

        If Coca Cola sold a plant where it’s syrup was made, complete with equipment to a company intending to make Generic Cola, you wouldn’t expect “Generic Cola inc” to be able to change their name and keep sending cans labelled coca cola out of the door just because historically they were able to make said branded product?

        >This may result in restrictions on the use of the name Arduino,
        It’s already a registered trademark, you can’t just write Arduino on your product, even if it uses one. The same as “Tata motors” can’t write Bosch on their cars, invoking trusted brand image just because the ECU is made by Bosch.
        (i.e this has no effect, the name is already restricted, and has been restricted for a just over four years.) – whomever wins, it’s still be a restricted name, – that is unless they effectively both loose and hurt each other by saying it’s now a generic word.
        that would hurt Arduino SRL (smart projects) because their company name will be immediately associated with high volume low value quick fail crap branded Arduino coming out of the lowest cost centre. and it’d hurt Arduino LLC, because they could no longer license their trademark, no longer get money. and this goes back to being a “bedroom” project updated only in spare time with nobody having any vested interests to actively develop it or “grow the community”

        Notice that it’s not the board, shields, Atmel processor, weird pin spacing or even the “slightly easier than competitors” IDE, it’s the community that helps people under the name Arduino that brings the value to the name/trademark. what Smart projects (arduino SRL) don’t seem to pick up on is that if they kill the creators of the project, and the maintainers of the community. then their golden goose is immediately cooked. (i.e if Arduino LLC just dropped the support/community forum database tomorrow then there is no more incentive to buy Arduino -which would no longer even have an active IDE readily available for download) and the community would be more more friendly than the hundreds or random posts on Microchip PIC spread out far and wide…

        > In every case, it pretty much sucks for the rest of us.
        Not really every case. I’ve said above it’s terrible for “Arduino community” if Arduino LLC looses and shuts up shop (which they’d almost certainly have to do with no revenue.)

        It’s terrible if the name becomes generic and they (arduino LLC) can no longer license the name to get revenue and shut up shop.

        but if Arduino LLC wins, remaining owner of it’s trademark (filed nearly half a decade ago), Arduino SRL can go back to being called Smart Projects SRL and Arduino LLC can go back to making new designs, running a support community and making money by pimping it’s trademark.

  5. While they quarrel and the lawyers get fatter, the clones are saturating the universe and using their IDE and rendering the squabble irrelevant.

    Nanos are down to ~US$2.50 each on Ebay (with the CH340G USB that won’t give you grief) and the whole debacle is doing what the Arduino project set out to do in the first place; make it easy for artists/tinkerers/hobbyists/noobs to get into microcontroller type projects.

    There’s a whole universe of people out there making lights blink and dabbling in Arduino’s C-ish code, many of whom will push on to do other things, both project and coding based. Whether alternatives win the game is less of an issue that the larger community of “makers” that has sprung from this and which won’t be shooed away on the sayso of lawyers quibbling over what is effectively open source and free.

    The only real foreseeable casualty would be the denouement of the website which is a pretty good tutorial etc. for those same newbies.

    1. Well I’ve made all the blinking lights and solar trackers and solar charge controllers and timers and …. what do I do now ? Ihave a few hundred dollars of development boards , chips , electronic sensors ,electronic parts etc but blowed if I can find anything now that takes my interest. Gaining the knowledge was great , refreshing my coding skills even more so , but what now ?

      1. I think that the Arduino systems/IDE are supposed to help projects rather than suggest them to you, but there’s always the final frontier – the near-infinite convolutions of crypto and/or large scale dynamics analysis.

    2. I cant believe that it took 20 comments before someone wrote this very obvious comment (above)
      Here are the FACTS:
      1) the design is open source. I.E.everyone has the schematic
      2) The Chinese are knocking them out by the thousands faster than
      either of these two warning parties could finish a bowl of pasta.
      3) The Chinese will never, ever ,ever stop making them as long as people
      want to buy them.
      4) The IDE is largely a collection of open source tools, and it was very
      useful like 20 versions ago… almost no one will care if their $4.00 Chinese
      Arduino clone doesn’t work with some 2015 and beyond version.

      What a shame that greed has gotten the better of the two parties.
      As for “new” IoT Arduinos? RPI-quad core + Chinese “Arduino cape
      will be cheaper and more powerful and popular. If these people don’t
      stop fighting thy will quickly render themselves poor and irrelevant.

      1. 1. Not all arduinos are open source. Yun is NOT OPEN SOURCE. Go check and find the part list. Oh, you can build it, but the key is missing. The key – the wifi/support module and it is just another arduino without that.


      Domain Information

      NORID Handle……………: ARD137D-NORID
      Domain Name…………….:
      Domain Holder Handle…….: MS861O-NORID
      Registrar Handle………..: REG42-NORID
      Legal-c Handle………….: MS6686P-NORID
      Tech-c Handle…………..: MS6686P-NORID
      Name Server Handle………: NSDR17H-NORID
      Name Server Handle………: NSDR56H-NORID
      Name Server Handle………: NSDR95H-NORID

      Additional information:
      Created: 2011-09-23
      Last updated: 2014-09-22

      NORID Handle……………: MS861O-NORID
      Type…………………..: organization
      Name…………………..: MADS SIBEKO
      Id Type………………..: organization_number
      Id Number………………: 997363779
      Registrar Handle………..: REG42-NORID
      Post Address……………: Bispegata 4
      Postal Code…………….: NO-0191
      Postal Area…………….: OSLO
      Country………………..: NO
      Phone Number……………: +47.48011316
      Email Address…………..:

      Additional information:
      Created: 2011-09-23
      Last updated: 2011-09-23

      1. Interestingly, squatters have in recent months been forced to turn over domains if they can be misinterpreted as the trademark of another company. I’m torn on this issue. At one hand I hate patent trolls and would be annoyed if someone squatted on a domain of my company. But I also think they were smart in a free market.

  6. Can someone explain the whole VID USB thing?

    I understand that when you make a board that uses USB you have a VID (vendor ID) and PID (product ID). Each vendor is supposed to have a unique VID that’s assigned to them by the USB group when they pay for it.

    But what I don’t understand is if is using a different VID than the official board, and other clones are as well, how do they even work with the IDE at all? I think I read Linux might be smart about how it handles USB but what about Windows? These boards would have to work in Windows.

    Also, don’t most boards use an FTDI chip? And doesn’t that report its own VID? Does this only affect ARM boards like the Due and those which use the AT32U4 like the Leonardo?

    1. The FTDI only reports its own for small qty units. For larger production it’s expected the seller will gt their own VID and the usb controller will be programmed with that. This is just a blacklist entry for the SRL VID, so no other VIDs are flagged.

      1. I’m pretty sure that FTDI will sell you as many chips as you want, with their VID. (Ditto microchip, Cypress, TI, and anyone else that sells a dedicated USB/Serial “chip.” One of the advantages of dealing with FTDI: you DON’T have to deal with!

        AFIK, other “clone” vendors of the boards with Arduino VID have been “illegally” shipping their boards with the Arduino VID programmed in, even when they otherwise take care not to infringe trademark/etc. (note that many clones DO use a dedicated usb/serial chip, relying on the customer to have or install the proper driver, rather than count on one-step install offered by the actual Arduino “drivers.” (and it’s not actually a driver; it’s just a .inf files that says “this vendor/product should uses the CDC/ACM driver that’s already part of windows.))

        It’s particularly annoying that this should happen at about the same time that I was say the “clone/trademark” issues have “improved.” (Most of the clones I see around these days don’t call themselves “Arduino”, and many are actual re-designs.)

        1. You mistook a bit.

          You can program whatever VID you like in your controller.

          What you can not do is program whatever VID you like in your controller AND claim to follow rules (e.g slapping a usb certified logo on it).

          If you don’t agree to the rules and haven’t signed up to their program, you aren’t bound by the rules…
          same as if you’re in Saudi Arabia then you can’t drink beer, going to their country means that you’re in their jurisdiction, breaking their rules means that they can impose a penalty on you.
          When I am sat in the UK I expect to be able to drink a beer without Saudi police coming after me, However I understand that in general American led consortium seem to have trouble understanding where their jurisdiction ends.

          The VIDs are issued by for use on devices labelled with their logos, but numbers and device IDs are neither protected nor trademarks.

          for the main article:
          What I really don’t quite get is:
          Arduino was set up, and clearly wanted to control everything Arduino name related from the start.
          Smart projects was set up, and clearly made a whole bunch of money selling under licence.
          Arduino register/incorporated as Arduino LLC and registered the Arduino trademark.
          Arduiono LLC have controlled their trademark. when others have used it. but not controlled smart projects use of it.

          This implies that either:
          1> Smart projects were using the name under license. (i.e trademark infringement was never pursued because they had been told that they could use the name.)
          2> Arduino LLC knows that it doesn’t really legitimately hold a trademark, and would have lost any battle with smart projects attempting to limit their from putting Arduino on the boards. (because smart projects were using it since before Arduino was a thing… and it’s really their trademark.)

          You’d think it was case 1, since Arduino name was clearly thought up, assigned to a project etc and that project grew into Arduino LLC way before Smartprojects could have ever made an arduino, (e.g the Arduino project must have existed, (and did exist) with that name before any other company could make anything called Arduino.)

          You’d have thought that smartprojects would have been able to tell investors what it’s IP portfolio included before selling out, and certainly before changing names, (because that’s just proper due diligence.)

          Even if smart project have a bit of paper that says that they can use “for free” the Arduino name on any Arduino related board that they make then it’s still not clear that the yun is an arduino board at all! (it’s not on website, it’s not open source, it’s not really related to the project, it’s designed developed and made by an outside source. it’s arguably not arduino, or anything to do with it.)

          Essentially, what I believe is, smart projects cannot possibly own the trademark Arduino, they weren’t the first to use it, the project came before the product.

          Smart projects cannot just decide to call themselves Arduino, because it’s not a common word, and it dilutes the existing trademark of Arduino LLC

          Smart projects can’t call the Yun an Arduino, because let face it, even if you could program it using the Arduino tool chain, it’s not designed by Arduino LLC…

          I think that the real trick here was that when selling out of smart projects Martino didn’t make clear that he didn’t own Ardiuino name, that smart projects didn’t own it (only used it under license), and that it basically wasn’t (and couldn’t be) for sale.
          so investors have come in, with a new project, hoping to get mass market appeal by stepping on the branding of an existing project. -shame they bought the wrong company!

    2. Also, the VID/PID is only to set up the USB to serial and nothing else. It is just used to select the appropriate USB to serial driver.

      Windows does have a standard USB to serial driver with it’s own VID/PID but the windows driver is so bad that no one uses it. The standard Linux driver is good but Arduino is cross platform so you can’s use the one VID/PID for Linux and another for windows.

  7. Hate arduino or not. One thing comes to ming. They have done a great deal to help the next generation of geeks out there. You cant read about an interesting project out there without seeing arduino and or Pi somewhere. I hope they keep their company together and continue the work they started.

  8. What a shame. Arduino (whichever one in was) did a fantastic job of getting affordable, easy to use microcontroller boards out into the open for everyone to use. It now seems as though they’re just going to cause problems for everyone. Seeing that everything is open source, it can go one of two ways.

    1) A group of people get together “community” style and start releasing an “official community” version which everyone uses and is happy with.

    2) Everyone and their Grandma forks the code and releases their own versions which will just put everyone off using Arduinos and will ultimately open the door for another system to sweep in and claim the market share.

    Personally, I think it will go the way of the second option but I hope not.

    Regardless of speculation, only time will tell and the choice is still massive.

    My 2 pence worth

  9. The simple truth is: open is for platforms, closed is for more (a more immediate but smaller) predictable profit. Eventually, the open nature of a fork will win out in the sheer size and numbers of submissions of the community to propel the open innovation. But this happens only if both competitors adhere to the same legal tactics. In reality, the only major way that the closed fork could win out in becoming the platform of (required) choice is through legally blocking the more group-based open fork. Unfortunately, making an environment anti-competitive is still legal if enough legal mangling occurs.

    Sure, Arduino SRL might survive and even thrive at a smaller rate of adoption than Arduino LLC. But in order to do so, they’ll have to saturate/ out-market the community that made it what it is. (Deja vu, Makerbot?)

    I bring up Makerbot to end on the last point. The oldest members of the community- who are the most knowledgable teachers/ mentors and are the best evangelists- you never see them with a Makerbot on principle, as much as quality. Its only a matter of time before Gianluca is booted out of his own company and left with a stain on his name that will outlast the money. Just ask Bre Pettis.

    1. It is hard to kill open source (and hardware) Microsoft tried hard to kill GNU/Linux without any success. That said Arduino LLC can become a successfull company under that name or another.

      1. It’s not clear that Arduino LLC still has any income. *IF* Arduino SRL has stopped sending them money, then their business model of “we’ll use HW sales to fund SW development, website and forum maintenance, evangelism, and support” has failed. (note: no one has claimed this has happened.) *IF* that’s the case, SRL doesn’t even need to win the court case; they just have to drag things out until LLC runs out of funds and is forced to disperse. (A risky strategy, but … all too common in legal battles.)

        1. Well LLC can also contract many other manufactures to keep funds coming. I bet many manufacturers are already talking to LLC to get their blessing to produce “certified” boards and distributors will follow-through. if that happens SRL will be in bad shape

        2. sort of,

          Smart projects (now Arduino SRL) weren’t giving them money for fun surely?

          Smart projects/Arduino ARL were giving them money for use of trademark (the same as McDonalds has very few stores, but lots of franchises paying them to use the name and branding.)

          If that’s the case it should be pretty easy to show on paper.

          1. What makes you think that was the case? It seems far more likely that they were acting as contract manufacturers for arduino LLC, producing Arduino boards under contract.

    2. “closed is for more (a more immediate but smaller) predictable profit. ”

      Yeah whatever, RedHat begs to differ:

      ” this happens only if both competitors adhere to the same legal tactics.”

      Do you have any evidence or any examples of what you are talking about here, or is this just a lot of hot air? Maybe we can look at IOS versus Android and see that your argument is nonsense?

      “The oldest members of the community- who are the most knowledgable teachers/ mentors and are the best evangelists- you never see them with a Makerbot on principle, as much as quality.”

      Also “yeah whatever” I watched a number of Microsoft employees just last week carrying a whole host of big “Makerbot” boxes into their Cambridge offices. Maybe you can tell us about how Microsoft’s research laboratories are filled with novices.

      1. Microsoft hasn’t created anything unique and innovative since Windows NT (which I have to admit WAS superior and ahead of its time, though OS2 Warp came close). Not sure I would hold them up as an example of ‘smartness’. After all these are the folks that created Component Object Model. :p

        1. Well, Windows NT was inheriting from the work at IBM for OS/2… IBM and Microsoft were teaming over an OS and AFAIK, when they parted, they both kept access to other’s side work.

  10. I have witnessed many of these “open” projects. Once they become popular, someone suddenly realizes they could be making a lot of money. Who said capitalism is dead?

    And BTW, I always thought Arduino was a stupid name. It is too similar to “weeny” in English.

  11. ” [Martino] and now [Musto] clearly have a vested interest in keeping production in Italy, while Arduino LLC’s interests are better served by going global.”

    Not really: the Arduino Yùn is made in China too, so this remark is not relevant. Both ar egoing global.

    1. A fair point, although I bet if you compare sales volume of the Yun vs the Italy-produced Arduini, you’ll find that they’re still 95% produced in Italy. How many Unos sell for each Yun? (And what are the gross profit margins?)

      But I agree that “Italy” and “Global” were poor word choices. What I really meant was something about the number of licensed producers, irrespective of their physical location, because the real point is that we’ve got two companies with very different incentives.

      Arduino LLC, the design company, doesn’t care about who makes the hardware and wins by partnering promiscuously. The more high-quality Arduinos of any sort there are out there, the stronger the ecosystem, the stronger their brand, the more they can license it for. Intel Arduinos? Win. Beagleboard Arduinos? Win. Who cares who makes them as long as they get licensed and made!

      Arduino SRL, the manufacturing company, wants to only design boards that they can produce or get produced. Every other licensed Arduino producer is their competitor, and every design that they can’t competitively manufacture eats at their market share. This does not mean that they’re going to be anti-OSH, as long as they’re the “official” provider who gets the big contracts with distributors. But it does mean that they’re against Arduino LLC forming new partnerships with other producers, whether “globally” or around the block.

      If Arduino LLC really wanted to kill off SRL, they could do so in one shot. Start licensing to a few of the higher-quality Chinese knock-off manufacturers. LLC earns 25 cents per board, the Chinese firm can get another 50 cents out of the consumer. LLC gets rich on licensing royalties, and SRL can’t hope to compete with the volume / price coming out of China. And the consumer is the big winner.

      Massimo, if you read this and implement it, you owe me a beer.

      1. Yeah, trust the cheapest Chinese manufacturers to pay a royalty… on the heel of Federico Musto, an American businessman, buying out Martino’s manufacturing and attempting to steal the Arduino brand.

        What could possibly go wrong?

      2. Hi Elliot,
        “A fair point, although I bet if you compare sales volume of the Yun vs the Italy-produced Arduini, you’ll find that they’re still 95% produced in Italy. How many Unos sell for each Yun? (And what are the gross profit margins?)”

        It is impossible to tell, as unlike RPi, Arduino is not publishing its sales figures. However, with an estimated BOM cost of $25 and a customer price of $75, I would bet that the Yùn is more lucrative than any other Arduino board.

  12. They should be allowed to sue them for trademark violation if they didn’t have a trademark license, but they should still be allowed to manufacture such clone. I am also fine with the “uncertified board” warning the way it happens to be implemented. However my opinion is also that they ought to provide a trademark license to certify clones which are perfectly compatible.

    1. Last time I looked at, they had two programs “to provide a trademark license to certify clones which are perfectly compatible”, called “Arduino At Heart” and “Arduino Certified”.

      They even show photos of all the products. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself:

      Currently, the only Arduino Certified boards are the 2 versions of Intel Galileo. Their web page states “certify a basic level of compatibility with the Arduino platform”. In Galileo’s case, there probably should be some added emphasis on the word “basic”.

      1. This is pretty funny, they say “Tap into the power of the huge Arduino community” and then they say “Arduino Clones are excluded from the program” as if they clones were not an integral part of the community. REALLY they INSIST that you purchase an uno at full price if you want to “tap into the power”, because they can apparently solder chips onto boards with that “italian style” that enables you to “tap into the power”

  13. i’ve dealt with Musto before…. he is a very shady character. He was a VP for Red Hat a long time ago, but he tried to pull some funny business with them as well and got pushed out. I think that law suite with RH is public record now….

      1. “you’d have to pay me to install all that Cypress closed-source development software on my computer”: Why? Is there a material way that the closed software harms you, or is it just a philosophical thing?

  14. The big question: by having two organizations use the arduino name for years before first filing for the trademark, did they screw the trademark over preemptively (by making it too general and thus unenforcable)? Keep in mind that, if you own a trademark and you do not sue everybody who misuses it, you lose the rights to it (and it goes into the public domain — this is what happened to ‘asprin’, which is no longer owned by Bayer, and ‘heroin’, which is also no longer owned by Bayer).

    1. That’s a good point. I guess that Musto will argue they have a right to use the Arduino name, since he was one of the founders. Arduino LLC have been rather lax with the trademark. It could be argued that the trademark has become generic, but I don’t think either party will want to claim that, unless desperate.

      As a seasoned internet lawyer even I am stumped as to how this one will play out.

      Weirdly the situation is a lot like the Twix advert with left Twix and right Twix Maybe we will be left with two Arduinos – one making hardware and providing an open IDE software, the other making an open IDE and selling hardware.

  15. I think that a little competition will mean new products coming out faster however it would be a real shame if compatibility between the two camps disappear and consumers have to start picking sides.

  16. To my (very limited) knowledge, the USA has a different approach to trademark than other countries. That is, the actual use of the trademark is what matters, not the registration. So if a company A was producing a product with a particular trade name, and company B comes along and registers the trade name as a trademark, then company A still has dibs on the name. In this dispute, the question is, what is more meaningful, putting the trade name on the boards, or on the software? There is a second point, that I think is the crux of the matter. A trademark needs to be used in commerce, in the USA. So I’m guessing the use of “Arduino” on the boards would trump the use on the website and IDE software. Because the soft stuff is free, and so not being used in commerce. “Used in commerce” more or less means, you’ve got to be selling something. Dollars need to change hands IN THE USA.

    1. Arduino LLC (and previous entity) DID use Arduino name in commerce as they did LICENCE IT’S USE to other entity. This can be compared to the ARM situation where the company designing ARM processors don’t make them but licence the design and the name.

  17. is easy, who was selling boards with that logo?, who is the face of arduino? who register an arduino domain first? who created a community first?

    i do ediscovery for a living just get me email data for all 5 custodian and I can find you the email trail of who started anything following instruction of who.

  18. There is not only Arduino! A large group of Makers, are trying a different tack: the absolute and talebanic rejection of any commercialism!
    The alternative is Open Source, Open Hardware, DIY and Not For Profit. The movement of Makers, based on the system Theremino, remains totally detached from any intent to manufacture and profit!
    This time the Marketing shark (that deforms our society and our needs), will not win.

  19. If we look at the image from of an old Arduino board

    We can see that it bears the name Arduino and the four names M.Banzi, D.Cuartielles, D.Mellis and N.Zambetti

    Gianluca Martino’s name is NOT present on that board.

    This is way before any trademark has been registered (11 February 2006).

    When looking on, I could even see older board which only had TWO names (M.Banzi and D.Cuartielles), and “2005” (and still the name Arduino).

    So it looks like Gianluca Martino was not the first to name such a card an “Arduino” and has no claim to it…

    All pictures were archived at least 2 years BEFORE Gianluca Martino trademarked the Arduino name in Italy. so they can’t be said to be fakes.

  20. I used to use and Arduino board from Arduino LLC ( to power a sensor, a LCD display, 2 relays and data logger from Vin and 5V. Got the new one from Arduino SRL ( and it is struggling to power the system. I guess for the sack of my sanity I will stick to Arduino LLC boards for now.

  21. I hate it when greed f@cks up something so nice as the Arduino. To my knowledge Gianluca Martino and MS hid the info about the trademark stuff and later on it came out when the Arduino LLC tried to trademark the “Arduino” name outside of the US (I find it perplexing that Arduino was only trademarked in the US since it came out of Italy but what the hell do I know… LOL). While not a legal issue per se I find such action to be really sleazy. But then again “we are sleazy” is the motto of Microsoft after all. XD But as of October 1st 2016 it seems that the Arduino LLC and SLR are joining to become a single company. Good for them. Why the hell did this shitstorm started is beyond me but I guess everything is well if it ends well.

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