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Thread: Arduino.org

  1. #1
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Arduino.org

    I'm sure everyone's seen the news that broke today on Hack-a-Day and Heise, or will see it soon.

    Does anyone have any inside info?

  2. #2
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    Made in Italy™, just like all the Chinese clones are.

    More seriously, an expected result of the increased focus on licensing branding rather than developing hardware.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Looks like an effort to monetize. The founders team relationship is is on the rocks (i.e. Martino and his CEO unilaterally making changes at Smart Projects SRL, renaming themselves Arduino) and the desire for MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY is the likely basis.

    I have no inside information, but my guess is that Martino saw the writing on the wall, i.e. the Arduino team wants the flexibility and $$$ opportunity associated with choosing among many hardware partners (Intel likely the big elephant in the room) vs. limiting themselves to a single supplier (which is also a ridiculous business risk in the computer industry in the first place).

    As I see it, Smart Projects is going to have a very hard time in a trademark case against Arduino, LLC, the owner of said trademark. This case is not getting litigated in Moscow where the highest bidder prevails, the MA court has a lot of experience dealing with trademark laws.

    IANAL but IIRC the legal test re trademark is whether a reasonable consumer would perceive infringement and could confuse one company for another. Thus, Apple Computers got sued by Apple records (of Beatles Fame) once Apple Computers started making computers capable of music, for example.

    Trademarks are usually applied to specific industries / product categories, i.e. not for everything under the sun. However, in order for a trademark not to fall into common use, the trademark holder has to fight anyone that misappropriates it. Thus, Arduino.cc had no choice but to sue in case they didn't want to lose what is likely their most valuable asset, i.e. the trademark. This is going to get expensive, and Martino is unlikely to prevail if the case actually goes to trial. Perhaps he hopes that Arduino.cc will have to sue for peace due to lack of funds?

    It's a pity because this sort of junk can seriously impact the creative and financial health of a company. Granted, the Arduino team created this monster but I'd rather see them refine 1.6 and develop new hardware that I'd actually be interested in vs. the weird or just evolutionary stuff that has been coming out of their labs for the last three years.
    Last edited by Constantin; 02-25-2015 at 09:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Dog Hunter is on the list of defendants, so this messy situation might be more complex than it appears.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Do you have a link to the complaint? Seems to me that the key question is to what extent the manufacturing arm had the right to unilaterally rebrand itself in this manner. Just goes to show the benefit of competent representation when drawing up these sorts of business relationships.

    I wouldn't read too much into the list of defendants. The US laws pretty much allow anyone to sue anyone for anything. Its common to have anyone associated with anything related to an event getting sued followed by them getting dropped at trial and/or these parties being used to exert pressure on the defendant to settle.

    Working with the Arduino team may have been frustrating over the years but just think how fortunate you are now for not being associated closely enough with Arduino, LLC to be on the suit list...
    Last edited by Constantin; 02-25-2015 at 09:45 PM.

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    money corrupts

  7. #7
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Bottom line is that the Arduino, LLC does not need Smart Devices SRL. They have multiple chip manufacturers sniffing around looking for an in.

    Keys to success include:
    • Robust software support for the hardware (i.e. no ongoing issues like embed) - and you need scale for this (i.e. hire a couple of professionals),
    • Vast library collections being adequately maintained (you need a small army of smart volunteers for this), and
    • Great Tech Support and/or Forums continuing to flourish (i.e. a ton of happy volunteers willing to give away their time for free).


    If Smart Devices wants to fork, they cannot likely do the above on their own - mbed, Digilent, Maple, and others have gone down this path before. They will need a large community. I'm not convinced that they are going to get that support at this time.
    Last edited by Constantin; 02-26-2015 at 04:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Constantin View Post
    Bottom line is that the Arduino, LLC does not need Smart Devices SRL. They have multiple chip manufacturers sniffing around looking for an in.

    Keys to success include:
    • Robust software support for the hardware (i.e. no ongoing issues like embed) - and you need scale for this (i.e. hire a couple of professionals),
    • Vast library collections being adequately maintained (you need a small army of smart volunteers for this), and
    • Great Tech Support and/or Forums continuing to flourish (i.e. a ton of happy volunteers willing to give away their time for free).


    If Smart Devices wants to fork, they cannot likely do the above on their own - mbed, Digilent, Maple, and others have gone down this path before. They will need a large community. I'm not convinced that they are going to get that support at this time.
    Does someone know, who 'owns' the form factor of the boards?

  9. #9
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    This is quite comical and yet fascinating to me.

    I would guess that based on the current state of existing tradmarks/wordmarks in the US
    that Arduino LLC. is likely to come out on top of this "spat"- at least for use in the USA.
    I don't know about the rules in Italy nor what was done in Italy.

    Simply go and look at the US trademark registrations and pay attention to the filing dates
    and the actual registration dates - which means it was granted - some of these have not yet been
    through public comment for opposition.

    The normal process of trademarks is you file - anybody can do this and it is fairly inexpensive
    like under $1000. Then after some period of time it gets "Published" which means that the public
    can comment on it. It this period of time where any of those apposed to this mark can post
    their "opposition". This is where things get thrown out and this is likely to happen for some
    of the Arduino SRL marks.

    Arduino LLC has a word mark on the name "Arduino" with respect to "Electronic Circuit Boards"
    that has a filing date back in 2009 with a first use date going back to 2005.
    it was registered/granted in 2011.

    Arduino LLC also filed for a Tradmarked the "infinity" logo back in 2010 which
    was register/granted in 2012.
    This use is broader than just circuit boards and also includes a word mark of "Arduino".

    Arduino SRL came along and filed a US wordmark for "Arduino" in Sept 2014
    With an expanded use over what Arduino LLC filed back in 2010.
    And is trying to claim use in commerce going back to 2005.

    And then Arduino LLC filed another US wordmark for "Arduino" in October 2014
    also with an expanded use over what they filed back in 2010.

    Now the history of this gets very interesting back in the 2009-2011 years.
    There was lots of dispute over what "Arduino" was back then and use of the name "Arduino".
    Also the Arduino products were claiming a trademark and yet they didn't really have a trademark on the name.
    This back when the splinter with "Free Duino" happened.

    At least from my perspective Arduino LLC guys had no clue what they were doing with respect to trademarks.
    They did some sloppy filings for a word mark but then
    never followed up on it properly and the filing essentially died and they were not granted the mark.
    It went back and forth a few times, and I actually filed some comments against granting them this "Arduino" word mark
    given some of their original comments about it was for everyone and anybody could use build their own arduino
    implying that nobody owned the name "Arduino" in this context.
    I'm not sure what they to revive it as the USPTO record doesn't show that but eventually they were granted a word mark
    for "Arduino" and a trademark logo for the "infinity" logo and wordmark for the "Arduino" name associated with it.

    These two are going be very difficult for Arduino SRL to deal with as their US wordmark filing is from Sept 1014 long
    after the 2009 filing from Arduino LLC and long after the 2010 to 2011 public comment period on the Aduino LLC mark.
    Not sure how the claim of using it in commerce since 2005 is going to work out for Arduino SRL particularly since
    often if you don't take reasonable means
    to protect your IP/Trademark/wordmark rights, you essentially forfeit them and they (Arduino SRL) took no measure to protect their
    rights (assuming they actually had any) and never objected to the US trademark and word mark which was up
    for public comment in 2010-2011.
    That is 5 years ago and Arduino LLC has been claiming that mark ever since.
    So Arduino SRL has seen this logo and word mark all over the place including on boards they were making so they knew of its existence
    and yet they never bothered to take action.

    Even though Arduino LLC totally screwed up the way they handled their trademark/wordmark particularly here in the US,
    eventually they did go back and managed to get the US PTO to issue them a wordmark "Arduino" and trademark "infinity" logo.
    I don't think this looks good for Arduino SRL as I'm guessing the courts will side with Arduino LLC.

    In this situation, if they haven't already, Arduino LLC should tap Atmel to get some legal assistance from Atmel
    Legal to help protect their assets. And by "their assets" I mean Atmel assets since I'm assuming that Atmel's deal was with
    Arduino LLC not with Smart Projects (now Arduino SRL).

    --- bill

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    Can a non-US-person as filer obtain grants and recognition by the USPTO?
    I guess so.
    I have a couple of patents via USPTO but I suppose those are handled differently.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Anyone can file for trademarks or patents in the US. The main beneficiary are the US lawyers. Ditto abroad. When I worked in an IP Office for a local hospital (medical devices) the rule of thumb for filing global patent protection in all desirable markets was about $300k. That leaves many markets out.

    Truly global patents or trademarks can only be afforded by huge multinational companies with a limited set of products to defend (ie coca cola, big Pharma, and so on). But some markets may not allow patent protection because said countries want to appropriate western IP without paying for it.

  12. #12
    Arduino LLC are represented by MARTIN B SCHWIMMER, LEASON ELLIS LLP http://www.leasonellis.com/ who are IP specialists. They seem to have been hired by Arduino LLC last year, so I think Arduino realised they had a fight on their hands and hired some big guns.

    I also wonder if this is related to the introduction of Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for developers. It seemed pointless at the time, but makes more sense in hindsight.

    I can't really see how Arduino Srl expect to win this, it has the hallmarks of a personal dispute. They want to go down fighting and cause as much trouble for former friends as possible. It's going to be a real mess.

  13. #13
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Does anyone know how Linino & Dog Hunter fit into all this?

  14. #14
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    Back when I used to read the arduino forums (until they changed the web software and I could no long just read new messages in each sub-forum, and I lost interest in them) I recall there was a bitter feud between smartprojects and the Arduino founders, and there was a lot of he said/she said type accusations going around. From a distance it appears the feud continued and now we have dueling lawyers. I have no connection to either side (other than having one Uno and of course using the Arduino libraries), and all I know about is what I read in the web. I do recall this article: http://www.domusweb.it/en/design/201...factories.html.

    They also had a kickstarter campaign for their yellow boards (originally called smARtDUINO), that flamed out (read the comments section for the juicy bits): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ufact/comments

  15. #15
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Oh, I remember those yellow boards!

    Dimitri created massive hype, right in the final few days of our kickstarter campaign for Teensy 3.0. He approach me, and apparently every other project related to Arduino that had ever been on kickstarter, wanting to collaborate or partner or something. I took a quick look at what little he had published, which was a poorly-considered pinout for those stacking connectors based only a 5 volt logic. Since he had no apparent plan for 3V logic, I said no. Or maybe I just ignored him and never answered? It was a long time ago, and I was working around-the-clock to get Teensy 3.0 released.

    In hindsight, all his "partners" were just a ploy to bolster his image and make a quick buck selling as many unreleased products as possible.

    Occasionally, I looked at his Kickstarter page through 2013. And also Galago... the other competing project on Kickstarter around the same time as Teensy 3.0. Both Dimitri and Kuy had significant setbacks, but Kuy seemed to be genuinely trying to build an awesome platform like Arduino. Dimitri was obviously milking backers without any substantial engineering effort, and his kickstarter comments piled up with angry backers.

    It's unfortunate Kuy's project didn't keep going. He seemed to be really trying to do good.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post
    Does anyone know how Linino & Dog Hunter fit into all this?
    Dog Hunter LLC (et al) own the Linino brand/trademark. https://trademarks.justia.com/owners...r-llc-2336468/

    Not sure about Dog Hunter wrt to Smart Projects. It appears that Federico Musto is CEO of Dog Hunter, and Musto has teamed up with Martino to form Arduino Srl. Presumably they had a previous trading relationship and Martino wanted an experienced business partner for his breakaway Arduino group.

    Arduino is split in two: is the war between the newly Ltd. and the historical founder Banzi

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMeissner View Post
    They also had a kickstarter campaign for their yellow boards (originally called smARtDUINO), that flamed out (read the comments section for the juicy bits): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ufact/comments
    I believe that Dimitri and SmartDuino are not related to Smart Projects, except that Smart Projects hired him as a subcontractor for some assembly work on Arduino products.

  18. #18
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    At some point, it would be really nice if we could hook a real (opensource) debugger up to a future generation of Teensy, that didn't cost an arm and a leg. In the end, I didn't back galago. However debugging consumer embedded boards still feels like I'm in the card punch era (which I did program in).

  19. #19
    There is some interesting info courtesy of Italian media and google translate Arduino, here are the reasons for the clash.

    It seems there is a web of companies involved, and lack of formal agreements between the founders.

    Musto is described as former VP at Red hat, which seems like a good pedigree, but not all bad apples are at the bottom of the barrel.

  20. #20
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    I believe I met Federico Musto briefly at the San Mateo Maker Faire in 2013. Massimo Banzi introduced us, then had to run off to one of many press release/statement/photo sessions. Federico introduced me to an Asian developer at his table in the Arduino/Atmel area, but that guy never talked much. Federico did a lot of talking.

  21. #21
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    @MichaelMeissner - I do indeed have plans for very low-cost but fully featured debug. It will be something special, somewhat different than the common approach. I can not discuss any details at this time. Normally, I dislike when companies make "vaporware" announcements, so I generally don't mention stuff that's planned but not ready for testing. But you did ask. Many people have asked, actually. I do hear. Debug is coming, and no, I can't talk about details yet.
    Last edited by PaulStoffregen; 02-28-2015 at 06:33 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    Great, I look forward to it. While I don't work on GDB, if you need help in navigating and getting stuff committed into GDB, let me know off list (or work with the Mentor Graphics folk that work on the arm toolchain).

  23. #23
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMeissner View Post
    At some point, it would be really nice if we could hook a real (opensource) debugger up to a future generation of Teensy, that didn't cost an arm and a leg. In the end, I didn't back galago. However debugging consumer embedded boards still feels like I'm in the card punch era (which I did program in).
    A debugger is a great idea for those of us who know what they're doing. To me, this would be a likely fit for something like the 3++ series, i.e. a chip aimed at a more professional crowd and where you have potentially more board space to dedicate to cater to professional needs.

    I like the looks of the Tag-Connect system that a forum member here posted at one point. The footprint is pretty small, the connector cables are reasonably priced, and for the manufacturer there is no cost other than the board space required to accommodate the pin holes.

    However, I bet a bigger challenge is making the debug 'just work' as the Teensy series already does. Plus, a bevy of links explaining the costs and benefits of using a debugger, recommended hardware, and so on would be helpful also. As a ME, I wouldn't know where to start.

  24. #24
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    If there is to be a Teensy debugger, why not base it on the standard single wire debug (SWD) ? I know there's an issue with the mini54 "owning" those two pins, but not going this way is taking the long torturous custom debugging route, right? The SWD pods are $21 now. I have two and they just work. This is unlike the mandatory $500 J-Link JTAG/SWD gizmos.

    I am super pleased with the $21 SWD debugger pod and the add-on to the IDE that I use. It just works. Love those instruction and data breakpoints, register dumps, memory-data watch, stack trace history, etc.
    I haven't used the OpenOCD work but I see that it supports SWD and most SWD pods.

    Visual Micro has an almost-free debugger add-on to Atmel Visual Studio and the new free MIcrosoft Visual Studio 2013 Community edition. That debugger is software-only -no hardware needed. The debugger has the red-dot in the editor for breakpoints- but what it does is insert source code for breakpoints and tracing. A compromise - but lots of novices and intermediate skilled users like it and it's hardware neutral.

    The Visual GDB software is low cost and is VERY well done. Supports SWD.

    Alas, support for Linux developers is not in most such tools.

  25. #25
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    And of course on the flip side, I only use Linux, and I would prefer something I can use in the Linux environment, preferably using GDB, which is burned into my finger tips.

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