Saturday, June 24, 2023

What's In A Name?

And when Kickstarter's revolving door of compliance hits your ass on the way out.

Okay, confession time - I have NEVER participated in a Kickstarter project apart from two times that I donated money to help a friend make their goal. Particularly so in a watch project. I still have fairly vivid memories of when the first Kloker's Kickstarter dragged on and on. Several supporters getting their watches nearly a year after the project ended, and frankly a not so warm and fuzzy outcome as many of the watch cases were defective (plastic cases with the metal-like coating peeling away).

Ultimately the company failed, although their Kickstarter launch absolutely made their first few years much more successful fiscally, and probably helped keep them alive after the initial investment from larger backers had been burned through.

But what happens when confidence (perhaps inflated) gets confronted with reality? And that brings us to today's topic - Argon. Without getting into too many particulars about the two partners behind the nascent brand, the sudden removal of Argon from Kickstarter does serve as a cautionary tale for every other would-be watch entrepreneur about the importance of dotting all "i"s and crossing all "t"s. After raising over one million George Washington Dollars for their Spaceone watch, the virtual funding rug was unceremoniously yanked out from under Argon's feet. 


Long story somewhat shortened:

Although some details are as yet to be fully fleshed out, there is an intellectual property dispute. For those of you unfamiliar - you can absolutely send in the paperwork to register a name. But with that said, that is only the first step. There is a lengthy process that (at least in the US) takes months, not weeks. Here in the lower 48, your trade mark registration can be denied for any number of reasons by the feds in DC. 

Argon or Aragon?

And then this fun factoid, a brand known as Aragon appears to have planted their flag first in Watch Town. Curious to relate? They also had a successful Kickstarter back in...


And needless to say, one thing might have absolutely nothing to do with the other.

So whether this intellectual property dispute is merely at the Kickstarter level, or if it is deeper problem is something that we will have to do a "wait and see" on.

What is known is that the two young men behind Argon have informed backers that Kickstarter has halted their project and is holding onto the funds. They also state that they have retained legal representation here in the US of A

And here is where, unfortunately, the folks who put up their money to back the project are now presented with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. 

It is a fun watch design, and it clearly had a lot of support from individuals wanting to have one. 

Is there a solution? Of course there is, but it will require something beyond simply retaining legal representation. Mediation would be advisable, as it creates an opportunity to resolve the dispute more elegantly. 

So we shall wait, and we shall see... maybe.

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