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Topic: Open source Project / Hardware (Read 46771 times) previous topic - next topic



And if you can't enforce your trademark, you don't have one, so why not just let it be free :)

Linus thinks its a good idea or he would have released the trademark. Its his trademark so he can do what he wants.
Just like Arduino team owns the copyrights to all the code and PCB layouts which they have licensed under CC.
Whether not they will use a lawyer to enforce those legal rights is, well, none of our business.

Anyways, Arduino team also doesn't have the fiscal capability to take someone to court if they break the CC license, either. Does that mean they should just release it all into the public domain and "get rid" of that responsibility?



the simple legal fact is that if you can't enforce it through demand letters and legal action etc, you give up your legal claim to the "mark" by the fact of non-enforcement.

You can't keep the mark and not enforce it: trademark law doesn't work that way.

The Arduino foundation can't afford to enforce it. So, at the risk of sounding like a parrot, why not....



Aug 23, 2007, 12:33 am Last Edit: Aug 23, 2007, 12:37 am by ladyada Reason: 1
the simple legal fact is that if you can't enforce it through demand letters and legal action etc, you give up your legal claim to the "mark" by the fact of non-enforcement.

You can't keep the mark and not enforce it: trademark law doesn't work that way.

They can enforce it by sending boilerplate C&D emails, which cost nothing. Maybe they'll represent themselves in court. Maybe the EFF will volunteer, or they have lawyer friends. Maybe they'll blow all the money they earned selling arduinos on some hotshot lawyer.

Most people who trademark aren't planning to go to court. That doesn't mean they shouldn't register the trademark: most violators stop when they get a C&D.

According to the interwebs, Linus -didnt- register the word originally and then regretted it when it was snapped up by some jackass.  
I'd rather Arduino team trademarks the word than some other person. :)


ps. I think I've said everything worth saying, and more. Since you don't agree, it's probably not worth wasting your time on this, so I wont post about it anymore.


Aug 23, 2007, 12:40 am Last Edit: Aug 23, 2007, 12:45 am by Daniel Reason: 1
yes no doubt some very limited enforcement action is possible, although I seriously doubt the foundation's resources would go much further than a demand letter. If it goes to court, that takes  a year to resolve or more, and tens of thousands of dollars or volunteer time. For <each> jurisdiction. Do it again for once for the US, ok, but again for China, and again for Singapore, and again for France? And again in the USA if someone else tries it? I guess by that point you have the emails of your volunteer lawyers all set up. Also, for places like China, you need to actually go through the registration process in order to be able to prosecute someone for infringement, so add a few thousand per country like that, or a few dozen hours of volunteer time, and maybe a few thousand for the Chinese-English or Italian translation.  
Volunteer lawyers are also not known for their expertise in interantional trademark litigation! :)

It's a full time job enforcing a trademark internationally.

But really, is that what the whole Arduino thing is about?

If you compare trademark enforcement of the Arduino name with just letting poeple use it, the latter is a lot more consistent with the philosophy of open-source hardware development.  




Hi, can you please clarify what you mean by "don't publish full CAD files"?

I was talking about the alternate layouts for "bare bones" functionality that you've been showing the hardware forums.  In retrospect, this wasn't fair at all since they are still in the pre-product stage, and I apologize.



About that trademark issue...
If you can't enforce the trademark better give up on it anyway?
Sounds like a strange idea to me. Even if legal steps are not affordable, I would never give away the chance to
at least point a finger at "EvilArduino" on the net, in the press. whatever...  

What do I expect as a consumer from the "Arduino" trademark?
I bought 3 of them until now, they all worked fine. I don't have any need for any more of the boards right now, but
when I need a few more of them I expect them to be of the same quality next year.
Ok, now it's next year... I order 10 boards from my local distributor (not PCB-Europe) but he switched to "ElCheapoArduino" in the meantime. Bad news is they do not work as expected. I complain with my distributor but he says :
"you clicked on : buy arduino now, and we delivered arduino! Well, it's not trademarked it is an arduino"
I would argue: If I order an arduino somewhere, I want that same good quality board I have now.

Imagine I release a new Beatles CD and put some fake pictures of John,Paul,George and Ringo (I know there are only two of them left) on the cover. But when you start up the player your only hear me strumming away on the guitar and singing along with a voice that makes my dog change into another room!
I guess you would prefer that I had to call my CD "Eberhard Fahle sings his favourite Beatles tunes". Then you would hear this strange Free Jazz version of "Let it be Arduino" on the college radio and think : Not bad, actually even better than the original, I'll buy it.

Name on derative work
I went through this when I released my first open source software. I was tempted to use a license that actally forbids to mention the original source or promote the deriative work with my name. I skipped that since I wanted a licence that was really easy to understand and since nobody knows me. There are no credits to be lost for Eberhard Fahle.
But the concern is still there: somebody probably  puts out a bad piece of software and it has your name on it. Still make me feel unconfortable.
For the Arduino there is a lot of credibility to loose. If I had to decide for this project I would vote for putting the non-advertising clause into effect.

The thread has reached page 4, probably someone should mention again that ..
1. Open source hardware is a fairly new topic. Try searching the net, read the wikipedia article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_hardware -> "Look ma, it's that Arduino again!"
There are no standards here, The Arduino Team might be setting one....
2. We all love the arduino and appreciate the work being done
3. Find it very pleasing that mellis is still with the discussion!
4. Don't expect a quick answer to the whole thing, don't we?



Aug 23, 2007, 10:30 am Last Edit: Aug 23, 2007, 10:42 am by Daniel Reason: 1

regarding the "poeple will make bad quality clones" argument that gets tossed around: we're not talking about a swiss watch or a particle accelerator here.

The Aruduino is about 10$ worth of very simple components: a few LED's two IC's, a regulator, five or six capacitors, a half-dozen resistors and a bunch of connectors.  Heck, half of us who post regularly in the forum have built our own reliable "homebrewed" versions, so why on earth would there be cause to think that a manufacturer  could not put a reliable one of these together? It's a very simple job for any manufacturer with a basic level of experience.  There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in the design. I thought, after all, that its simplicity was part of its "design for proliferation". And if the fear is Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean manufacturers doing shoddy work, well that would actually mean quality,  because they know what they're doing, as they're already manufacturing and assembling more than half of the electronic devices made in the world. An educated guess would say that most of the Arduino's electronic components could also be traced to China. It's where most electronic parts get made these days.

Yeah, so I really don't get the quality issue, can someone explain it to me, perhaps with a concrete example?


PS Eberhard: you shouldn't expect much as consumer, as it's not a consumer product. It's an open-source hardware project.  Maybe that's the essence of the problem: people are confusing it for a product, with brand name and all.


Except for a handful of shoddy LED's, everything else I've imported from China has been of impeccable quality. Recently I purchased 200 1.6mH 4x4" coils made to specification, at a cost of 40 cents each, the workmanship was incredible. I also imported 2 brand new 125khz RFID readers, with enclosures, for $10 each - they do the same job as the phidget readers, and how much are they? Same with ethernet cams, 50 bucks each and functionally flawless.

So I don't think there's a legitimate argument regarding the quality of electronics components originating in China. Once upon a long time ago, there were many examples of bad workmanship originating in China, but, things there have changed, a lot. So much so, I'd be prepared to wager that the quality of a copy, given the right instructions, would be difficult spotting any considerable differences.

I struggle though, to understand why someone would want to manufacture their own. When you factor in shipping, the time it takes to organize the purchase, possible communications issues resulting in unforeseen misunderstandings, the anticipated savings might not completely transpire.

I've wondered for a while, why there aren't more 3rd party add-on boards specifically designed for the Arduino. Like, relay boards, LED multiplexers, input multiplexers, so that a few of the solutions people seek in the Arduino, are available off-the-shelf, packaged with software and examples.

I mean, how many people buy an Arduino, then try for months trying to get a LED to blink? Perhaps not that extreme, but if you read through the forum, I've noticed quite a number of people looking for ways to control large numbers of LED's - surely that's screaming out for an off-the-shelf solution, so why not get that made in China?

Legally, I also think the good people here would be seriously challenged enforcing the trademark. Recently, an acquaintance and I were discussing a (not very exciting) new technology, he suggested that, unless we had piles of millions of dollars, the best way to protect the technology was to ensure it was available at the lowest possible price and mass distributed before anyone had the chance to think about copying it. He suggested, that was a means of making the millions needed, to then afford to protect the technology. Otherwise, a company with deeper pockets, would simply beat you to death until your funds had run out.

And the other question remains, is the Trademark legally enforceable? It could take 5 years in a court to get a ruling on just that one point. And by then, how many millions has someone else made?

Anyway, if it's a case of opportunities to profit, I think there's plenty of others besides building copies. But, I would be interested in understanding why it is an issue, over the savings of a few dollars?

And as for making copies, I suggest anyone with that kind of determination better have their sights set on making millions in order to defend against any kind litigation - who really knows how deep the pockets are of those defending the trademark.



Why would someone make an arduino clone? Maybe its sick but because its fun?! I cant speak for limor or the others here who have done so but I genuinely enjoy the attempt to 'build a better mousetrap'. Often my 'clones' really are just for specific pieces Im working on. And Im cool with the idea that I can pretty much do as I please for personal use. But with the current state of ambiguity in the licensing, I really dont know what *could* happen if I sold a work that used an arduino setup that I made, since I would then be making commercial gain in a sense. Now yeah its not like Im going to get rich making my little arduino ripoffs but all the same these are the types of issues that need to be addressed as the Arduino grows.

I also agree that chinese manufacturing, as long as youre not Hasbro, is superb. But I guarantee with a market share of 10k I doubt any manufacturer is looking to cash in. The arduino serves a niche segment of a niche market. Even if we, the community, are capable of converting half the bs2 users thats still not a terribly huge market all things considered. My point is there is no reason a chinese manuf, or someone acting on their behalf, would have for mass producing the Arduino. Besides the hardware has been too liquid with an update to the board way to often for hugely mass produced run.

Finally, I agree the whole trademark thing really means you have to have the money to enforce it. CC licenses really imply a certain amount of honesty amongst those making derivative works. Like hell I would really be able to enforce my CC work. Beyond that to have certain things TM means the owner is going to enforce it otherwise it is really worth *nothing*. If you cant enforce it why bother with TM and just leave it open.... take the high road so to speak. Now if the Arduino foundation plans on enforcement, well thats another thing...

BTW, I think this is a good healthy debate... a sign that shows how involved this community is and ultimately how much we care about this. I hope it also illustrates some of the varied concerns that we as users have.




So I don't think there's a legitimate argument regarding the quality of electronics components originating in China...

Did I miss something?
When I mentioned that I support the idea of local production (for me thats europe) of the arduino, I was not questioning the quality of the components, but was concerned about the working conditions.
I far as I know PCB are still made with some agressive chemicals put on copper, which will end up as toxic waste to be handled with gloves at least. The Yangtse-river is already dead and if you want to spoil your day go to http://www.amnesty.org and search for "china working conditions".
I don't want to discuss this any further as it is irrelevant to the topic.
Any american or european would be perfectly able to to produce an Arduino-board which is not working!
I could do it, trust me ;-)
I simply don't understand why these people should be allowed to ride the ArdunioWave by using the trademark?
If you think the board needs some competion in any way, just go ahead and make one. This is not as Daniel said the flux capacitor. Call the whole thing TPFKAA (TheProjectFormerlyKnownAsArduino) and good luck.

I still don't know what the world is missing when the Arduino team is not putting out the production files.
Anybody thought about requesting open sourcing the financial issues of the project?
Where are the calcualtions and the manufacturer contact lists for the components on the board, I thought this was open source???
(Got carried away here I think...)


Eberhard: you shouldn't expect much as consumer, as it's not a consumer product. It's an open-source hardware project.  Maybe that's the essence of the problem: people are confusing it for a product, with brand name and all.

No, I am a customer when it comes to the Arduino hardware. I paid money for the board, so expect it to be working otherwise, I will return it.
The (open source minded) manufacturer of the board  has also put in his investment and needs to sell the board to me.
This is clearly a producer/customer relationship.
It is totally different from open source software I use. When some part of the software is not up to my requirements I can (hopefully) fix that myself with an editor and a compiler.
This would not be the case if a trace on a Arduino PCB somehow ended up in the wrong place and stopped the whole thing from working.



HI folks:

I am sure people will be ecstatic to hear this, but I am going to try and keep my mouth shut and not post to this for a while, to let people get their two cents worth in!

I can hear the collective sigh of relief... I hope people will post and say what they're thinking. These issues need a public discussion: open hardware, as Eberhard says, is a very new thing and a free and open discussion is an important thing.



Well, I would like to see and expect a difference in buying parts needed for an open source hardware project and buying commercial customs.
The resulting problem of keeping productions files closed is, that there's only one single source. Which is completly contrary to an open advertisement. Daniel has an interesting point with his estimate, that the production cost is actuallly more like 10$ for Arduino boards. I recently stumbled upon this: http://www.pollin.de/shop/shop.php?cf=detail.php&pg=NQ==&a=MTY5OTgxOTk=.
Ok, it doens't come with an Atmega8 (because you can choose between several ATmegas and ATtinys) and there's no FTDI USB serial converter. BUT, please note, the PCB uses more than twice the area of an an Ardunio Board, has many many more parts on it and is still only 15 Euro. And like it's with nearly any board, whicht features an Atmega8 or 168, you could use it as a replacement for an original arduino board - if, but only if, you are experienced. (I'm speaking in general of ATmega boards from manufacturers that probably even don't know about the existance of the ardunio project, e.g. like pollin.. :-) )

Why should only people with experience in electronics have the opportunity to try out Arduino at lower costs, with lower priced boards? Esp. when its a known fact, that those experienced poeple are not the majority of ardunio users.

Really, I don't want to offend any developer now, but look at what's the ardunio board when it comes down to the schematic.
It's not more than a combination of the Atmel AVR Atmeg8 reference design together with the FTDI232R Serial-USB chip reference design. Even the serial bootloader idea isn't original.
It's the software (the IDE and the libs) that make ardunio great and usefull!

Why should the constantly growing arduino community still rely on a very commercial distribution of the main component?



I paid money for the board, so expect it to be working otherwise, I will return it.


This is all well and good but if you think about the NG rev C that is one screwed up board. By your reckoning, hundreds of us should have promptly returned this product. Look, Im very understanding of this being an open source project. As a result I dont gritch too loudly when I have to unplug a resistor from pin0 to program and then have to plug it back in when its ready to run again. Or that I dont have an LED on pin13. Or that if I want my students to have some hardcopy documentation that flows and is easy to read then I have to write it. Or that in order to get servos to work I have to write my own functions because I cant get the existing one to work. Whatever. I understand that this is not a full time gig for those few who are primarily responsible for the production of my new platform of choice. I get it, I understand, and Ill be patient.

To draw comparisons, which I am apt to do, I come most recently from using the PICAXE platform. They have a license from Microchip to bootstrap certain PICs to which they tack on a $1 to every chip forming the bulk of their business. Their bootstrap and IDE is completely proprietary and closed and their trademark very rigidly defined. Because of their business model, you are damn right if something doesnt work 100% as advertised I am on it. But you know, they have some amazing documentation on their entire line of chips and dedicated tech support. This is all paid for by that closed hardware design.

Anyway, I will gladly gloss over the occasional buggy software or certain hardware glitches when they arise. I really believe in this platform and its cross platform IDE and the romantic notion of an open sourced project. I just think a little clarity with what is open and what is closed, what are the proper terms of usage for the hardware, software, and trademark would be nice. I also think if this is to be an open project then open it up and put some faith in the merits of an open hardware model.



But with the current state of ambiguity in the licensing, I really dont know what *could* happen if I sold a work that used an arduino setup that I made, since I would then be making commercial gain in a sense.

I see, so perhaps part of the issue is, what can be called an Arduino, when it's not an Arduino anymore?

Well I think that's fair enough.

I don't think making copies of the Arduino is "sick" fun, put like that, it's perfectly harmless. OS projects are meant to be fun, right?


Aug 24, 2007, 04:53 am Last Edit: Aug 24, 2007, 06:54 am by Daniel Reason: 1
OK I know I said I would shut up for a bit, but this is very interesting. I somehow missed this on the Linux Mark Institute's site. they now issue worldwide licenses to basically anyone who wants one, for free, as in beer and software. To quote their home page:


"LMI has restructured its sublicensing program. Our new sublicense agreement is:

   * Free -- approved sublicense holders pay no fees
   * Perpetual -- sublicense terminates only in breach of the agreement or when your organization ceases to use its mark
   * Worldwide -- one sublicense covers your use of the mark anywhere in the world "

Seems pretty darned reasonable! You can start a global "Linux whatever" business.. for  ;Dfree ;D!
There are not enough smiley features in this forum to show my pleasure about this.

That's linux, used by millions. What will we do for the massive crowd of 12,000 using Arduino? Maybe the same policy times 10-2?


edit: here are some example LMI sublicenses issued last year, in perpetuity, globally, and for free:

Total Linux®
Sublicense number: 20061106-0024
Linux Sublicense Version: v2.0
Issuance date: 11/7/06 17:47:54 UTC

Linux Express®
Sublicense number: 20061106-0025
Linux Sublicense Version: v2.0
Issuance date: 11/7/06 17:48:01 UTC

Linux Kernel Internals®
Sublicense number: 20061109-0029
Linux Sublicense Version: v2.0
Issuance date: 11/9/06 23:12:54 UTC

Sublicense number: 20061107-0027
Linux Sublicense Version: v2.0
Issuance date: 11/9/06 23:12:23 UTC

Linux Kinetics
Sublicense number: 20061127-0039

Pioneer Linux
Sublicense number: 20070224-0066

Sublicense number: 20070218-0060

{Warning: humour}
Wow! people must be so confused about what Linux is, with all those different names with tthe word Linux in them!  Quality has totally taken a nosedive: do you think Linux even works anymore? I heard they were using an early version of Linux on the Titanic! And someone just said that Britney Spears is releasing her own Linux: BrittneyLinux®!!! GASP! The capitalists and the cheesy pop musicians are taking over Linux! At this rate Linux will almost certainly be made in factories by small children! Omigod, LINUX Is going down the tubes.....I'm so confused, I don;t know whether to get BrittLinux®, or Linux 2.0 for Seniors®!!  
{end humour}

I don't mean to denigrate the valuable opinions that are being expressed here, I just wanted to put a little humorous spin on things.  It is pretty clear that if Linux, a product that at one point in the 90's caused wild speculation on the stock market for its commercial potential,  is not afraid, we shouldn't be.  

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