Sep 14, 2017

Halo Switches, Massdrop, and I:C

Edit: Since this post keeps getting likes, I can only assume people are still learning about this for the first time. In the spirit of "more info is better ", I want to link to an article on Tom's Hardware that explores both sides.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/massdrop-input-club-halo-switches,35468.html
I just recieved the latest update from Input Club concerning the Whitefox Kickstarter. They are alleging that MassDrop is essentially trying to steal there design for Halo Switches.
"We also have encountered some unexpected push-back from one of our former partners, Massdrop, on the topic of the Halo switches. We (Input Club) developed and invented the Halo switches, and worked with Massdrop to finance the physical tooling that allows them to go to mass production. We assigned Massdrop the patent rights in exchange for a royalty and a “license-back” that we believe allows us to source the switches for use in keyboards. But when we tried to order switches for the WhiteFox/NightFox, Massdrop would not let us source them. They then claimed to own the “Halo” name and asked us to give up the license-back altogether, so we would essentially lose all access to our own invention. This is very confusing for us at Input Club, as we are mostly a team of engineers and are not used to dealing with people who act in this manner. Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information right now as to how the situation will unfold."
I for one would like a response from Massdrop. Input Club has done a lot for this hobby and, in my opinion are a great group of guys. Anyone else feel the same or differently. Am I missing some nuance?
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Stop being a bully, Massdrop.

Honor your commitments. When you snub I:C you snub the keyboard community writ large. I guarantee this will hurt you much more long-term than whatever you think you stand to lose by allowing I:C to source the Halo switches, in accordance with the contract.
Data
Stop treating IC as a child. They are a multimillion dollar business, but you clearly dont think theyre able to handle themselves.

IC is a bunch of cowards and pathetic to post on forums. Maybe you should stop buying from MD and go buy from IC instead. Oh wait, you wont do that.

Whining people like you are so annoying....
jrjr2
lol he mad
I don't disagree with Input Club making this public at all. How could a small team of engineers ever compete legally with a massive company like Massdrop? I think bringing this to public light was the smartest thing they could've done. People deserve to know what's going on, especially people who went in on the Whitefox drop on Kickstarter who will probably have delays.

From the part of the contract that was released by Input Club it seems that Massdrop is in the wrong. To me, and I am no legal expert, it seems to say they can sell their own invention as long as they don't go to another large distributor, ie Amazon. Massdrop is starting to get a very bad rep with the community. Although because of the exclusivity of some of the enthusiast products on here, many people still buy from Massdrop out of necessity. Honestly, I've bought DOZENS of orders through Massdrop, and I don't think I've ever had even 1 without delays of at least 2 weeks, more often a month at the least. This whole IC dilemma is just a show of the true face of MD.

I think once upon a time MD was a company that really worked hard to bring products to the public that wouldn't be accessible otherwise, but it has turned into a corporate greed machine. If it wasn't, and it was honestly just trying to help small designers get their products out there, then it would have no problem with IC selling it's own design. This whole "shark club" analogy is stupid too, people on that show more often than not still own 50% of the rights to their product if not majority rights. Funding a product doesn't mean you own it in it's entirety, even if that is the norm it is not right. The fact that Massdrop sells itself on "community" especially makes this a giant sad joke.

The saddest part of this whole thing is, is that even if MD is in the wrong we'll never find out. A massive company like MD has the money to fight this until they can bleed IC dry. IC will probably have to concede their own design or risk being thwarted entirely by MD. At this point I'm truly considering never buying off MD ever again, no matter how much I want some enthusiast keyboard or keycaps set. I'll have to wait to get it 2nd hand or somewhere else just so I don't support this monstrous company. I suggest other people do the same, that way maybe Massdrop will start giving a f**k about their community again and get things right and on time. Also please again don't give the excuse "oh these drops take time to get perfect, there are always delays", if MD knows a manufacturer they've used dozens of times is always a week late, put the goddamn ship date later then to account for that. Nobody is going to cry about getting their orders sooner than the shipdate if there are no delays. You're telling me a multi million dollar operation can't figure this out? Please.
this situation has gotten stupid with the community people need to chill out! What massdrop is saying is legit which I can't see it not being since if it wasn't legit! Then you know if IC took them to court there lawyer I am sure would have a field day with a public release that was non factual. ((not a lawyer))

We can obviously say that IC dropped the ball screwed up and its on there heads. It makes since why in the world would a company agree to spend 10's of thousands of dollars for a concept! cause thats what it was a concept.. if they couldn't control it? IC had no ability to produce these switches on there own.. so there only choices where to go find a company willing to back them financially which they did. What I know of business there not a single one in the universe that would have said. We will produce your concept and give you full rights to it. No once a company buy's in there most the time going to own the rights to the product! Every watched shark tank? Thats basically what this was. IC pitched a idea... Massdrop said sure but we want controlling stake in it. IC agreed cause otherwise there concept was just that a concept on a piece of paper.

Massdrop did what any company would do to think otherwise is silly! This has just gone out of control and just shows how bad social media is for society.
XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

this is kinda funny

to me it looks like input club misunderstod stuff. ITS ALL JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING XD.
The Kickstarter update is here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lekashman/whitefox-mechanical-keyboard/posts/1964996

There's this section after the part ApathyMonk posted above...

"Fortunately, we work very closely with our factory and suppliers and were able to discuss the best path forward. Many words were shared, but essentially the discussion concluded with us needing to develop a brand new switch in order to meet our commitments on the WhiteFox keyboard. This process will take approximately 5 weeks to get ready for production, and within that timeline we can still plan on fulfilling in December 2017 (though it may be late December!). These switches will still be 100% Cherry MX compatible and designed by us, but will be visually different from the older switches pictured below.

To summarize: Everyone in the campaign that chose Halo Switches will be getting a superior product without having to contribute more money, and while it is going to cost us quite a bit extra to produce, we’re optimistic it won’t increase the timeline."


So Input Club are having to develop a brand new switch... which suggests that Massdrop are legally in the right?

It's also unclear how their new switch will be a superior product?
Raithmir
Just because they have to develop a new switch doesn't mean Massdrop are legally in the right. They have to develop a new switch because a) Haata was likely tinkering with things he learned designing Halo, and b) they have a deadline to promise and any legal arguments would not allow them to meet deadline.

Basically...IC assumed they had a deal in which Massdrop would supply them the switch to sell as part of other products, and Massdrop assumes the switch can only be supplied in two ways: replacement or separate from other products.

Only way this gets resolved is in court, so to meet deadline, Haata gets to ramp up production on Better Halo, or whatever name they end up with.
There's no way Massdrop comes out of this looking like an innocent party, sounds like they will try to take your IP if you become successful, scaring away small time designers.
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Did I personally get money before a drop? Never. In my experience I get paid only after the drop was 100% wrapped up, shipped, and in the hands of folks. Honestly, I'd not want it any other way. And finances are a huge reason I like going through MD and not running buys on my own, because as an individual they are a nightmare to handle for a group buy.
Because this is a community group buy, I think InputClub is right to bring this discussion to a public forum. This is a joint purchase that is being made as a community. People who put forward their own money to help this be successful have the right to know what's going on and if they are getting what they payed for.
To those who didn't see it: Massdrop have replied here https://www.massdrop.com/talk/2342/massdrop-halo-switch-update

Might be worth a read of both sides before getting pitchforks out.
This is unacceptable. If this isn't resolved applicably then I will be canceling my K-Type and my Oblivion keycaps. This is beyond shady and greedy. I don't care if it's within their legal rights to do this because it's a shitty practice. Respond ASAP Massdrop or you'll be losing a lot of money and many customers.
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And according to Input Club's official statement on their website they were acting within their legal rights according to their agreement with Massdrop, or so the cited portion implies. I'm certainly no legal expert nor have I seen the entirety of the contract which could change things depending on the terms, I'm assuming at least. Either way it's been a shit storm, I think everyone can agree on that.
tragedyfoundus
Yeah, agreed. This never should have been brought to the community. It will end up doing the community no good, it will only hurt both parties involved, and further divide the community. And that is sad, especially since it could have been avoided and solved in private.

And I'm no legal expert either. Common sense assumptions based on standard business practices would lean to pointing that MD is in the right here is all I'm really getting at.
Okay Massdrop, what a good PR strategy. Oh well, it's not like this is going to harm MD's reputation... because it can't get any worse than it is now.
GREAT JOB MD! WAY TO HAVE YOUR HEADS UP YOUR ASSES
I really hope Massdrop didn't do something like this. Would be a really bad business move. Is it ok to steal intellectual property now a days? This is the wrong direction for innovation and the community if this is true.
tahoerider
Maybe read Massdrop's update first before you get the pitchforks out.
Cancelled my Oblivion order because of this. I bought Whitefox twice on MD, as well as the K-Type. I did not buy into the IC whitefox kickstarter, but this has left a sour taste in my mouth.