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Author Topic: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?  (Read 1351 times)

wraith808

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Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« on: December 21, 2012, 10:34:07 AM »
FormLabs created a Kickstarter for FORM1 - a professional 3D Printer, to pretty amazing success- to the tune of 3 million+ dollars and 2000+ backers.  The FORM1 is an affordable 3D printer, and now 3D Systems has taken to making sure that an affordable one isn't available, filing suit because "3D Systems believes the Form 1 3D printer infringes at least one of our patents, and we intend to enforce our patent rights" on Stereolithography. (ref via Globenewswire)

They have named Kickstarter as a defendant in their filing, for their role in facilitating the record setting “sales” of the Formlabs Form 1. (ref via Wired)

This promises to be very interesting- I hope that the judge at least throws out the part against Kickstarter very soon, or it could affect the face of crowdfunding very negatively.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 10:53:26 AM »

Sure, file under "disruptive businesses threaten older business models."

Paul Keith

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Re: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 11:28:45 AM »
I'm on the opposite end. I hope Kickstarter is brought up because it's the only way to morally prove that it wasn't infringing on a patent.

The record is a sign that there's some merit to the 3d printer being like a public good such as a car rather than a car design. Legally it sounds wrong but crowdfunding wise, a good lawyer can argue for the difference in theft. (I hope)

The important key is the funding part. Theft can't be funded by the masses. Theft is there to sell to the masses. Crowdfunding isn't selling, it's funding. Funding means an object requires a group of accomplices to shell out money for your project. Those accomplices are therefore part of the scheme. If Kickstarter is sued, you have to sue the crowd too.

The trick is defining crowdfunding as not selling but selling only after the project has been crowdfunded.

40hz

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Re: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 12:52:20 PM »
I wouldn't read too much into Kickstarter being named. It's a standard legal ploy to sue everybody who passed within twenty feet of the party they're primarily after. Usually they're hoping to cut a deal to get somebody to speak against the defendant or reveal inside information about the defendant during the deposition stage.

Just the usual BS lawyer tactics folks. Nothing to see here. Move along....

Kickstarter's big problem IMO is that they leave themselves open for this because they charge a percentage rather than a flat fee for a listing on their site. That makes what they do look more like a partnering arrangement with a client than it does selling a their service to a customer.

That's the opening the attorneys saw to go after them. They'll argue Kickstarter's revenue is dependent on the success of the projects they host - which makes their arrangement more of a partnership since there's some risk to Kickstarter using that formula. And the degree of "at risk" has long been a factor taken into consideration when determining whether or not somebody is actually "in business" with someone else.

And seriously, why should one Kickstarter project cost more to list than another? Kickstarter's costs should be mostly fixed and predictable by now. They could charge a flat fee and still make money.
 8)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 01:06:51 PM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 03:08:50 PM »
nd seriously, why should one Kickstarter project cost more to list than another? Kickstarter's costs should be mostly fixed and predictable by now. They could charge a flat fee and still make money.

As usual, the smart 40 cuts through the BS to the meat of the argument.  And really scores with the above.  :Thmbsup:

Paul Keith

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Re: Patent Silliness to affect Crowdfunding?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 05:28:56 PM »
I wouldn't read too much into Kickstarter being named. It's a standard legal ploy to sue everybody who passed within twenty feet of the party they're primarily after. Usually they're hoping to cut a deal to get somebody to speak against the defendant or reveal inside information about the defendant during the deposition stage.

Just the usual BS lawyer tactics folks. Nothing to see here. Move along....

That's the thing though. It's usual BS but this time it's about two integral things that the law have never yet known how to address: 3d printing and crowdfunding.

There's an opportunity here to set a precedent for future incidents before future incidents gobble both of these words and it's truly back to standard legal ploy. It's one of those rare standard cases that can be be turned into a home run case depending on how ambitious the defendant is.

Quote from: 40hz
Kickstarter's big problem IMO is that they leave themselves open for this because they charge a percentage rather than a flat fee for a listing on their site. That makes what they do look more like a partnering arrangement with a client than it does selling a their service to a customer.

That's the opening the attorneys saw to go after them. They'll argue Kickstarter's revenue is dependent on the success of the projects they host - which makes their arrangement more of a partnership since there's some risk to Kickstarter using that formula. And the degree of "at risk" has long been a factor taken into consideration when determining whether or not somebody is actually "in business" with someone else.

And seriously, why should one Kickstarter project cost more to list than another? Kickstarter's costs should be mostly fixed and predictable by now. They could charge a flat fee and still make money.
 8)

See here's the thing though...attorneys live by finding openings anyway so it's not really a big opening. It's common nowadays to say a lawyer can get you charged with anything because there's really no small problem anymore anyway.

The real punishment here is if crowdfunding or Kickstarter would always rely on some obscure nitpick to defend their concept and everyone misses the opportunity here to make a bigger splash in creating a landmark opportunity for patents to be redefined, crowdfunding to be better known and to settle the 3d printer debacle before the real serious business debates gets politicized.

From a moral standpoint, I also don't like this idea of using legal mistakes to justify non-legal related complaints. Sure this time it's something that may be could make a service we like better but it's this type of attitude that has turned law into a joke. Like suddenly the future of 3d printing and crowdfunding is less important than what fees Kickstarter does. I can't do anything about it, it's just a moral horizon I'm not comfortable hearing. I know the more people learn about law, the more you just have to accept the reality of certain things but...it just reads like it cheapens the whole case right now where as the opportunity for fixing the law here can only come from valuing the case beyond what's been scripted to happen one way or the other.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 05:35:59 PM by Paul Keith »