Is Andrew’s Experience Unique?
Andrew’s experience is not unique. Other start-ups and entrepreneurs who have initiated crowdfunding campaigns have encountered similar problems.
They have struggled with the degree of disclosure that is required to generate sufficient interest without putting their IP strategies at risk.
Aurora Labs, a manufacturer of 3-D printers, shut down its campaign because it was not willing to comply with Kickstarter’s requirement to share further details of how its product worked. It was concerned about how further disclosure might negatively affect its IP, especially its patent rights. As we discussed in an earlier module, the timing of disclosure for multi-jurisdictional provisional and final patent applications is a critical element in a sound international patent strategy and requires care, attention and expert advice. Early disclosure could result in the inability to secure a patent.
They have struggled with securing IP protection in the face of counterfeits being introduced into the market very quickly after they start their campaigns.
LunaTik is a company that launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a kit that would enable consumers to wear its iPod Nanos as wristwatches. However, the company had not protected its key IP — namely, industrial designs and trademarks — prior to launching the campaign. It also had not considered whether its product might be eligible for patent protection. As a result, the kit was widely copied, resulting in fewer sales of the “authentic” product and a diminution of the company’s market share.