To make it clear, here are some quotes from http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/LossofT... :
"it is possible to lose rights in a mark by allowing third parties to use the mark without controlling how it is used. This can include failing to control the nature and quality of the goods and/or services offered under the mark by the third party."
"improper use by a trademark owner or third parties also may result in the loss of trademark rights. A trademark should not be used in a manner that strips its significance as an indicator of the source of goods and/or services."
"[The graphic] is not an official Kickstarter badge, nor is the badge granted by Kickstarter"
Note that this doesn't necessarily say "we are okay with people using this." In fact, the quote could easily have gone on to say "people who use this are violating our trademark and we intend to pursue removal".
As far as I understand, some (not all) campaigns receive an email at some point to congratulate them on being named a 'Staff Pick.' The email isn't 100% clear as to what being named a SP means. KS actually discourages the campaigns from putting up a badge, but many of the projects do anyway.
There is little to no policing. So, my guess is that some projects use the badge regardless of whether or not they're a SP.
Personally, I think they should formalize the process and bop the heads of those that are misrepresenting themselves.
Pertinent to the supposed "failure to police" please cite where that is in the USC, thanks.
You have a trademark by virtue of use. You have a registered trademark by virtue of paying for the registration and continued payment of renewal fees.
>To help avoid such adverse consequences, the trademark owner should police its mark by enforcing [...] While some courts have determined that a trademark owner need not necessarily prosecute every infringing third-party use of its mark, such third-party uses can still affect the distinctiveness of the mark in the mind of the public. [...]
Sounds like they think you should rather than they determine that there's an actual "failure to police" clause in the USC.
An additional aspect is that you can offer a license to any user you come across. So if "failure to police" were true you still would not need to prosecute people for infringements in order to retain the mark provided they agreed to your [as liberal as you like] license terms.
If a term becomes generic, a trademark is abslutely lost under US law. And one of the easiest ways for a term to become generic is via unauthorized third party use. If Kickstarter didn't immediately threaten to sue, eg, Indigogo asking people to "come kickstart a project on Indiegogo" then they would be on a short path to losing their trademark by virtue of, yes, their failure to police their trademark.
So yes, there is absolutely a requirement to police third parties using your trademark in a way that treats the term as generic...which isn't the case here. Even if every damn project on Kickstarter said they were a "Kickstarter staff pick" it doesn't make "kickstarter" into a generic term for "crowdsourced funding".
>one of the easiest ways for a term to become generic is via unauthorized third party use //
Yes, sort of. The third parties are the public though. In practice words used as marks don't become generic terms because your competitors infringe your trademark, they become generic when you corner the market and in the public perception your product becomes synonymous with that type of good/service. Ordinarily when people raise this "failure to police" argument they're claiming that Jack Daniels have to sue - for example - a writer for using a similar style of writing on their book-cover or they'll lose their RTM.
>I don't understand how that isn't a huge trademark issue for kickstarter, since american trademarks are on the base of "protect it or lose it". (Mithaldu up-thread) //
The badge does appear to use the authority of Kickstarter's mark, in order to sell Kickstarter's product, this isn't a competitor appropriating a mark but a customer using a mark without express permission. There might be a case for exhaustion of rights (where a supplier can't sue a customer for retailing goods with their TM on). It's not deceptive of origin and apparently it's also truthful.
Incidentally "kickstart a project" is perfectly acceptable - you can't trademark common language, or rather you can sometimes but still not prevent others from using that language. "Kickstarter" wasn't and isn't a term in the relevant fields, indeed the part of a motorbike is just a kickstart but normal extension of language would have someone who kickstarts something termed a "kickstarter" - it's a terrible choice for a RTM and should probably have been rejected by the USPTO.
In truth Indiegogo should triumph over such an attempt by Kickstarter to sue for RTM infringement, but Indiegogo would probably be shy as IP cases are seemingly often poorly judged.
"kickstart" is already common language, "Kickstarter" isn't however: "I'm looking to kickstart this project" doesn't use the RTM.
If their position is that anyone can use the image, why not take it a step further? Make a new badge, like "Kickstarter Verified Technology" or worse.
493 backers have paid 600$ in average for something they might not expect. If you have a friend that backed that project, at least make him read the article. If he still want to spend money on this so be it.
A true indie shop running a crowd-funding campaign has very little money to buy marketing and PR, so they’re essentially consuming Kickstarter’s brand and traffic.
Whereas, some of these new-breed well-heeled campaigns spend more money on marketing than the campaign is designed to raise. These campaigns are not consuming Kickstarter’s traffic and brand, they’re contributing to it.
And whatever we might think of using words like “hologram” for this magic pixie-dust product, the odds are reasonable that something will ship to the backers, so Kickstarter’s reputation is less likely to be tarnished by a VC-backed campaign than by a truly independent project where they don’t have the budget to hire an experienced team.
So from Kickstarter’s perspective, well-funded “crowd-funding” campaigns that are actually marketing stunts is very good business, and I predict they are going to shift more and more of their emphasis this way, just as consumer-facing companies often gradually shift to becoming enterprise-facing companies.
As a prospective backer, this is far less attractive to me, so I am not advocating for this shift. But I do believe it is happening, and I believe that this explains why Kickstarter seem to have done little more than send an email saying, “Hey, bro, cut out the CGI, this gadfly is turning into an embarrassment for both of us. And good job, please bring us more campaigns, we love doing business with you.”
p.s. I’m curious as hell about their pricing model. I wonder if VCs can secretly negotiate lower fees than indies.
There have now been quite a few examples of crowd-funded projects that just haven't delivered and never will (Eyez was a good early example https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zioneyez/eyeztm-by-zion... $343,000 taken in with nothing to show for it)
EDIT: to commenters responding - fair enough. There's no equity so technically it's not investing. Maybe "patronage" is a better word.
"shops" doesn't mean anything. Ultimately it will be for a judge to decide the rights and the duties of Kickstarter... or the supreme court.
You sound like Uber when they say "we're not a taxi company". It's not up to them to decide what they are and cherry pick which law to follow.
> the point of crowdfunding was to invest in potentially interesting ideas
Where is the equity? Kickstarter is certainly not an investment plateform technically.
A purchase is when I give you money in exchange for a product. You're right, this isn't exactly Kickstarter's business model. However, an investment is when I give you money in exchange for an equity stake. This certainly isn't Kickstarter's business model.
If you give a Kickstarter money, you might get a product; you won't get any equity. Whatever that makes it, it's more a shop than it is an investment platform.
Its a donation platform with the possibility of receiving something for your donation.
We're starting to see that idea come about with platforms like https://www.seedrs.com/ where if it goes swimingly the backers do well out of it, which kind of offsets the risk.
I think the problem with standard crowd-funding is the people doing the project obviously have an interest in downplaying the risks, and the platform does too, so with no regulation that's exactly what'll happen, and then we get a lot of very late, underdelivering projects which will sour people on the whole concept.
At some point pretty quickly Kickstarter turned in to a speculative pre-ordering service.
It is deceptive at 3m in that video the co-founder says "we try to bring this holographic experience to families" - weasel words for sure. The word experience is there in anticipation of a future claim of fraud. He continues saying "most of the holographic displays and similar device, products, are focussed on [...]".
At 4:02 you can see that the system uses 4 separate images projected and is not 3D holography. In views on an angle you can see the image doesn't wrap (eg 2:51).
Flaws to my mind include the massive opaque bezel and the poor viewing position - all viewers need to be the same height. In the other use videos you can see people craning to sit at the same height as the device - seems adults and children or different height people of any age would struggle to use this together. Also you can't view from above.
There are numerous articles dedicated to maximize one's chances to be a staff pick, and numerous advantages like being in the newsletter, promoted on their social network accounts, etc.
That would mean that there really is a staff pick category with hand-picked projects, but that the badge itself can be added by any campaign. Is this really true? I need more evidence, it doesn't seem reasonable.
edit: found some more info about it from a campaigner http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-140-the-kickst....
It does seem that being a staff pick means that one staff member flagged the project, and the badge icon usage is largely unrelated.
Kickstarter does feature some campaigns as its staff picks, Kickstarter does notify campaigns when Kickstarter selects them as a staff pick, but Kickstarter will not admit that this particular project is abusing the staff pick appellation, and Kickstarter is refusing to say anything that could be interpreted as agreeing that this campaign engaged in unethical behaviour.
My personal conclusion is this:
This project gets a free pass. There is no evidence that any arbitrary project can give itself the badge and not get censured by Kickstarter.
Anyway, the Kickstarter project looks impressive. There's an entire company built around it? If it's a fraud, it ends at 8am EST.
The video they have looks like it could have cost a fair bit of coin itself. And they claim to have a CFO, CTO, and CEO, already? Their "Our Story" page  says they've been around a couple years and have 20 people. So a $250K campaign gets them what, another 6 weeks' runway? It's gotta be for the press value.
On the other hand, the product if far from something I'd call an holographic display, so it's in a bit of a gray area for a Kickstarter, especially since they CGI'd the first trailer with faked 3D views.
I have no doubt that a bunch of people are going to get 4 inclined triangles and a screen. I have some seaweed, which cures cancer, that the backers might be interested in too.
Also they need to clarify if it's actually a Staff Pick.
Another example was the Goblins Comics board game, which featured the web comic writer teaming up with a supposed board game maker who than ran away with the money, scamming the board game maker and the comic writer. See more at the second to last post here on the writers continued attempts to help his backers despite being scammed by the board game maker: http://www.goblinscomic.org/the-blog/
I don't see how it's a problem in general (not talking about this particular KS here) since it's a useful tool for showing investors that enough people are willing to pay for your product.
Doppler Labs' recent KS for "Here Active Listening" closed successfully last week with $635k in funding, and they just announced a $17M series B funding round this week.
I'd have to assume these two events are related, and as a backer of the KS campaign, I'm actually happy to see this, since it means the product probably won't be a one-off, and they will continue to update the software post-release, etc..
They all learned that after going public the next step to getting large payouts was to sell their real estate to management companies or REIT's.
Or less cynically, they follow Joel Spolsky's idea of focusing on your core competence and out source the rest to others.
Documentaries and so on, that's another story, I guess their cash cow are non-art projects while what they enjoy are art projects. So don't expect a tech project to undergo minimally rigorous analysis if it looks like it will make it big. They only question your project to the extent it could be a waste of real estate in their website for not getting funded.
If folks really want to help creators and artists make cool stuff then I suggest do your homework and give directly to those people (and avoid Kickstarter).
Wrong and Right. The reflected image will have depth and can be viewed from a (small) range of angles. Just like a reflection in a mirror is actually 3d. But NO, this has nothing to do with holography as stated.
Isn't that the same as saying that a drawing on a sheet of paper is actually 3D because you can change the viewing angle? At least when viewing a real 3D object through a mirror you could potentially get more information by changing your viewing angle. This project, however, appears to be more akin to viewing a flat screen through a reflective surface.
> The reflected image will have depth and can be viewed from a (small) range of angles. Just like a reflection in a mirror is actually 3d.
Oh well that's different then. TFA likened it to an illusion that reflected an object. If that object is an LCD panel then no it's not 3d.
However, my friends and I found no practical non-game application of the technology yet; maybe this is the case with anything new, where it answers a question nobody has yet to ask.
I do agree with the OP that the images in the KS campaign aren't real (or even possible). The Holus simply doesn't look like that and I wouldn't be comfortable if my company was promising images in a KS campaign like that. At the very least, H+ should have added an asterisk on each image that said "CGI rendered" or something to that effect to inform potential backers.
Is this it?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising
It's a little more than brand names on bill boards.
nope, that's not what happens. really, really, really, really wanting something is not the same as being forced to buy it. it's not even close, in fact, even if the desire is super strong. the inability to make this distinction is not a useful argument, it is a personal failing.
It is a free market, right? Kickstarter deceives, people talk about it, kickstarter falls.