"Crowd-Funding portal Kickstarter dragged into Patent Law suit – why?This Kat is entirely sympathetic to the notion that enterprises such as Kickstarter should not have to face patent infringement claims unless they can actually be said to be infringing anyone's patents. He hopes that, in England and Wales at least, the idea of even attempting to proceed against a crowd-sourced funder which takes no part in the funded operation and retains no share of its profits, should be firmly shaken from the patent owning claimant's mind. He wonders what might in other jurisdictions and hopes that readers will respond. Merpel, following her first visit to Kickstarter's website, has already fallen in love with the Kickstarter concept and truly wishes she had enough original ideas in her head to make it worth following its money-raising instructions.
Following major PR about one of Kickstarters’ most successful fundraising successes involving Form Labs , a rival 3D Printing company 3D Systems has launched a law suit for patent infringement not only against Form Labs but against Kickstarter as well. ... In my humble opinion, dragging in Kickstarter could merely have been a strategy to ride off of the PR interest such an action would attract.
Kickstarter is not a sales agent and does not profess to be. It is a Crowd-Fund business and earns its income not from a % of sales of products or equity stake but purely from 5% retention of the total funds raised. The success of this ‘one’ project may have in this instance equated to around $150,000 gain for Kickstarter but the majority of projects raise between $5,000 to $30,000 dollars where 5% retention is marginal.
However, Kickstarters financial gain is a red herring. The real issue is why should a crowd-fund platform be accountable for the patent infringement when responsibility for due diligence lies with project creators and their professional advisors? If Kickstarter is held accountable, would it follow that any portal owner including trade associations, ideation sites, product sales sites and so forth could be held accountable for anything promoted on their sites that later became subject to an IP infringement suit? ...
Kickstarter, along with all other such portals and corporate brands and others running open innovation activities, should make authenticity of works and IP usage terms a fundamental part of their submission rules and make it clear to creators that due diligence is their responsibility, no-one else’s ...".
Further reading on this topic can be found in the Crowdsourcing.org editorials here and here.