Our apologies and an Update on recent events
Dear Backers, Dear Kickstarters, Dear Product People
We apologize for the long delay since our last update.
In the meantime, 4tiitoo and the eyeCharm project have been threatened with patent claims and we were very busy trying to create a solution to bring eye tracking to you anyway! We wanted to keep you in the loop, but with multiple parties and lawyers involved we were not able to update you during the negotiations.
Please accept our apologies for the long period of silence and the fact, that the eyeCharm has not been shipped yet.
The good news is, that we are close to a final solution that will allow us to ship eye tracking to you. We are now in the stage of preparing the contracts around the solution, necessary to be able to communicate the details to you. Please bear with us for a bit more. We understand if you are disappointed by the delay - be assured, that we are doing everything possible to accelerate the communication as well as shipping eye tracking to you.
Let us give you some background information:
Eye tracking for research has been around for a decades, but sensors and computing power were too expensive to make it available for "home use".
When we started the eyeCharm project at Kickstarter, we set out to make eye tracking affordable.
Affordable to the creative ones wanting to develop their own visions;
affordable to the visionaries wanting interact with their computers in a whole new way;
and affordable for those, whose only way it is to interact with a computer.
When we reached our funding goal, we were honored by your backing and enthusiastically jumped to work making good progress.
Maybe too good...
A company holding patents in eye tracking, threw a roadblock into our way by claiming, that we might be infringing a patent. They asked us to stop the eyeCharm or negotiate a license price with them - Adding such a license price would have effectively made it impossible for us to deliver the eyeCharm to you.
We are convinced, that the patent in question should not have been granted in the first place and we are most probably not even infringing it, but in spite of our conviction, the only way to resolve this would be to go for litigation.
Why is litigation a roadblock to a company like us?
Because we can not afford to even begin a patent litigation especially with the patent in question being a US patent - To give those of you an idea, that are not familiar with patent litigation in the US: Our research based on data from the American Intellectual Property Law Association showed, that the cost of an average patent lawsuit, is $1.6 million through the end of discovery and $2.8 million through final disposition. Even at a tenth of the cost, these kind of legal disputes remain a roadblock to young companies and we had to create a solution around it.
Bringing eye tracking to you is a matter of heart to us. All of you, who have ever started on the endeavor of creating something and have been faced with these kind of challenges, will understand the pain we went through. We are dedicated to you, the people that have backed us, to bring more eye tracking into the world, and with your support in our hearts, we were able to continue the search for a way, that provides security on the patent side and allows you to get started on eye tracking and the NUIA technology as soon as possible. We will get back with details to you as soon as the contracts are signed.
Thank you for your support - being faced with these challenges, we probably would have cracked without it. If any of you backers happen to be in munich and want to come by our office, it would be our pleasure to meet you.
Best regards from Munich,
Tore and Stephan