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Experience the fascination of controlling your computer directly with your eyes!
Experience the fascination of controlling your computer directly with your eyes!
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1,390 backers pledged $102,608 to help bring this project to life.

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

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      mike becker on November 20, 2013

      ok, it's time to get refunds. the company didn't a serious deal: the patent issues should be in scope before kicking the start. Dear "Tore and Stephan", we want our money back. You can keep the benefits you've reached with my money, but the paid money must be refunded. Period.
      Second: even if the company suddenly moved, we expect valid contact data: operable phone number, answered mail etc. - the "postbox company" trap won't work.
      Expect some snail mail correspondence next days.

    2. Kistilan Dark on October 17, 2013

      Hello-

      I'd like a legal update or twenty. It's not very hard to type 2-5 sentences explaining any legal proceedings every day.

      If you're not going to be able to make this product I suggest refunding all backers money and contacting Kickstarter/Amazon to explain the situation. I'm sure they can remit their percentages so you can give full credit.

      If you are going to pursue making this product, you need to continue updating us on the legal proceedings. Even if you can't give exact details due to a court order, STATING THAT and going over the general issues you are encountering without going into specific details would be a great relief to your backers that may still want this product.

      I am not sure I'm interested in the product anymore if the communication is null.

    3. Michael on October 12, 2013

      Ich habe kein Interesse mehr an dem Produkt, ich hätte gern mein Geld zurück!

    4. Missing avatar

      Paul Roy on October 12, 2013

      I would once again like to suggest you provide an update. If you think people have forgotten about this product, they have not, and if you think the storm has blown over, it has not. Please let us know how it's going, and give us an honest and reasonable explanation of the situation. If there is no product coming out, let us know, or on the other hand if you are sincerely creating a solution and need a few more months, let us know, however if you continue to stay silent and this product never sees the light of day, you are going to enrage your only supporters. Please just keep us in the loop.

    5. Missing avatar

      ksg on October 3, 2013

      Sorry to hear about this huge snag. As one other backer requested, is there any way that you could point us to the patent number in question, so that we can have something to read while we wait for the next status update on eyeCharm? Thanks, and all the best in reaching a good resolution.

    6. Sokhean Jonathan Ouk on September 19, 2013

      It's good to have updates after repeated messages to get in touch with you. It's sad to hear about the road blocks but we as backers shouldn't have to go through the pain of having our funds go to a project that could be infringing in patents. Just keep options for us please. And thanks! Hope all goes well!

    7. Missing avatar

      Corey Modrowski on September 14, 2013

      Add me in for a refund, this is something that should have been looked into before the Kickstarter went up.

    8. 4tiitoo Creator on September 13, 2013

      Dear backers,

      thank you for all your comments!

      The current process to find a convincing solution for bringing affordable eye tracking to you - in spite of the patent threat the eyeCharm is facing - unfortunately takes longer than we hoped. Please understand that when several parties including lawyers are involved everything has to be rock-solid and more details cannot be disclosed until everything is finalized.

      However we think that we have found a great solution for all of you and are confident that we can give you an update on the project status and timeline latest until the end of this month. So please bear with us for this time and again our deepest apologies for this delay!

      Best regards from Munich
      Tore & Stephan

    9. Missing avatar

      Paul Roy on September 13, 2013

      Hi, I know there has been considerable backlash from this news, but I'm sure that deep down we're all hoping for the best. Please give us an update, at least letting us know that you're still working through this legal battle. I do think there's a real amazing product here, and I don't want you to have a tarnished reputation from all this commotion. Thanks!

    10. Missing avatar

      Dirk Floercks on September 9, 2013

      It's now a month ago, you gave us an update.
      How are things going on so far?
      When can we receive the Eyecharme?
      I'd appreciate another update.

    11. Missing avatar

      Chris Lin on August 9, 2013

      appreciate the update, things are getting anxious as we need to plan if we should buy the kinet for windows soon. i will be getting the kinect only if eyecharm is available as there is no other uses for kinect thus far for me. hence i appreciate this update

      having said that, i can understand the difficulty a young company like yourself is facing esp facing a lawsuit. please do keep us updated and i am sure many of us would support you all the way~

    12. Missing avatar

      Sebastian Boettger on August 9, 2013

      I can totally understand the "money back" claims. Everybody knows that these types of projects can fail on many reasons. And if this project fails because it violates existing intellectual property so badly that there is no way around, so be it. But here I have the strong feeling that it fails because it does not leverage the knowlege of 1390 backers.

      The project got a "notice for production of legitimacy claim" some month ago - this is what we learned YESTERDAY after all deadlines have been missed. A claim that can ruin the project. And the people involved were not allowed to share this information with backers and investors? Being on Kickstarter doesn't mean that there is no need to act professional.

      I can't judge the risk this imposes on the project. I checked your Message #10 yesterday with some friends working at the EPA (European Patent Office), and they raised some serious questions.

      Would you mind giving us the patent number involved?

    13. Missing avatar

      Rob Fitzgerald on August 8, 2013

      What a shame, the only reason they are coming after you is fear. Your proving the technology can be put into the hands of people for far less that the tens of thousands of dollars they demand. I am with you all the way. Let me know if you need more money................

    14. Missing avatar

      pmtheone on August 8, 2013

      Well,
      I'm hot so happy to read these news but, you are not the problem. The problem is the company that is trying to get money from a project like this in the contest of kickstarter. I would like to read its nane in this place and in other places of internet. Who wants to male money this way, doing nothing and waiting for someone like you simply taking of a peace of paper will not be lucky in life.
      A my thought and a good luck to you. My pledge is for you!

    15. Missing avatar

      Jerome Decock on August 8, 2013

      Care to communicate the patent infringed? Since this is a US patent and you are in Europe, they can only try to stop the delivery of eyecharm to US customers, which is pratically speaking...very difficult to do.

    16. Scott S. on August 8, 2013

      And just for the record,you guys are really something. Do you always come in and kick someone when they are down? Or maybe you just forgot the rules? You know the one I mean - All pledges are final. So, unless the creator decides to not deliver the product that was promised (which it seems they are making every effort to) you all really have no right asking for a refund, and no means of getting one. Now if the project falls through, then the game changes. But until then, deal with it.
      —If you want to buy something with guaranteed delivery and a right of return, go to Walmart.com

    17. Scott S. on August 8, 2013

      The problem with companies like the one claiming “Patent Infringement” goes much deeper than the surface - there is more at stake than what many realize. Take, for instance, @Parick Young. His reaction to this news was not supportive, but rather “I’d like my money back”. What happens is that their negativity spreads like a virus, infecting those of us with weak dispositions. I have encountered companies like this before myself and they are a whole different breed of conniving.

      What they do is take a product they think will be developed sometime in the future and patent it. Here-in lies the big problem with the US patent system, in my opinion at least. They have no working model to show, no proof of concept, no plans or parts lists. All they have is a well thought-out idea that hey expand upon. The patent is issued and, this is where it gets complicated, its all in the way the patent is worded. There are quite a fe dishonest individuals/companies out there that make a living off of nothing but patent litigation. They file false patens and then file claims against them. And, its sad to say, but until the US Patent Office changes there methods for issuing patents and tightens the restrictions some, they will continue to get away with it.

    18. Nick Martin on August 8, 2013

      +1 For a refund too please.

    19. Jeff Kang on August 8, 2013

      Darn. As a partially disabled user with a repetitive strain injury of tendinosis (chronic tendinitis), this is awful news.

      I just recently read an article written by Steve Gleason, a former NFL quarterback who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

      "It is simply unforgivable that the price tag on these machines is approximately $20,000 when, off the shelf, suitable hardware is available for $2,000.
      Our foundation is working with established companies like Sahara Tablet Kiosk, which makes my tablet, and Tobii, which designed my eye tracking, to create less expensive, more powerful machines. We can outfit someone for $6,000 rather than $20,000, which is progress."

      - Steve

      He says that it took him 4 hours to write the 4,500 word column at around 20 words/minute with his eyes. His fans are saying that it must be tortuous, but I'm thinking, "I only get 1000-2000 clicks a day, and this guy, who can't move anything except his eyes, is more than 10x productive than I am".

      This definitely isn't just about disabled users.

      If you stare down at your device for too long, you could get a neck strain. If you put your device upright with a tablet holder, excessively reaching out to press can cause arm pain:
      Gorilla arm syndrome: "failure to understand the ergonomics of vertically mounted touchscreens for prolonged use. By this proposition the human arm held in an unsupported horizontal position rapidly becomes fatigued and painful".
      This was a complaint for Windows 8 users.
      Eye control can be lower in physical exertion.

      In addition to replacing mouse control, you can invoke commands by dwelling on custom tiles that have your macros attached to them. Customizable, virtual tiles are infinitely more productive than static physical keys.

      How do you expect the mass market, mainstream users to see any of these benefits when the products are priced at thousands of dollars?

    20. Cameron (BLINK) on August 8, 2013

      It's really annoying when companies file patent claims for a product they know nothing about... It's just a guess, but i'm going to assume that they have NOT visited your companies workplace or manufacturing plant, nor have they got an eyecharm to look at to see if you are actually infringing on any patents. With that said, HOW can someone claim your 'possible infringement' when they don't know what you have made??? Just sounds to me like they were pissed that you made something better than they have with the technology, again, just a guess as I don't know who they are or what they make. Second Kickstarter project in 24 hours to announce patent/copyright issues against them, and BOTH were ridiculous and shouldn't have been patents to start with... Plug is a copyrighted word apparently. Yeah... 'plug'. I'm copyrighting the word shoe soon, just a heads up to anyone who uses that word, I hereby now claim it to be mine. :P

    21. Viet Nguyen on August 8, 2013

      Thanks for informing us with the news. I can wait until the problem get sorted out.

      They are just bluffing and want the licensing fee. If your lawyer can make them go to Munich if they want to follow through with the lawsuit, they won't waste money doing it in another jurisdiction.

      The best thing to make them back off is to negotiate a very small settlement instead of licensing fee, or don't pay them at all and stop the production, that'd piss them off since they can't get a piece of it.

    22. Patrick Young on August 8, 2013

      Thanks for the update. I'm not happy with these developments. I'd like my money back please.

    23. Missing avatar

      WLehmann on August 8, 2013

      Hi,
      thanks for the update, that sounds reassuring.
      Just out of curiosity, could you please post a reference to the patent that stopped your great efforts?