SCUTTLE® is now a registered trademark and everyone wins!
We recently had our brand trademark approved by the USPTO and this helps the SCUTTLE community have a backbone. It is not just an asset for our robotics business but an insurance that all our community’s creations will remain free and open source. When designs are shared in the SCUTTLE community, they are still owned by the makers but they have an environment with legal benefits.
How does the trademark help the community?
Having a registered trademark means the registered entity has the right to offer products under the trademarked name (in our case, SCUTTLE®) without the risk that it will be confused with 3rd party offerings. As our community grows, we want to be sure the products we offer are genuine, and users can trust such is true.
To make the community sustainable, we need to maintain high quality designs & publications. This requires some funding as the project grows. We created the SCUTTLE Robotics business (in North America and Asia) to raise money by selling robot kits. The cash flow from selling robots funds our efforts to do just that. Having a trademark makes sure that the business can create a brand and keep offering free and open content of high quality. It also means that contributors hold the key to the destination of their work.
Why is the trademark powerful for makers?
Imagine you create a robot module you’re very proud of (software, hardware, anything), and you want the world to have it for free – not to be taken by some big business for profiting. If you share the design in the SCUTTLE community, it gains more visibility but also protection. Other companies need to respect your IP rights, even if you take no IP related actions. Large businesses who utilize the SCUTTLE platform for projects need to verify legal policy and that means they work with us, and we (SCUTTLE business) will direct permissions questions to the original authors. That gives individual designers a chance to monetize or reject inclusion of their SCUTTLE-based creations in business activity. It’s not a bulletproof guarantee, but it’s far better than just tossing your hard work onto the internet.
Can users still copy the SCUTTLE designs?
Yes, as always our designs are free and open. For any open design, the limitations of copying are linked to the license of the work. In our case, our designs have a Share-Alike and Attribution requirement – so any of your designs that use SCUTTLE designs should also be open and attribute SCUTTLE in your publication.
How does the Trademark impact contributors?
Just like Raspberry Pi, the product is trademarked and branded, while people make many projects based on the branded device and publish their projects with the Raspberry Pi name. (This is ENCOURAGED!) You are free to use the SCUTTLE name in the context of your project and maintain complete ownership of your work – everybody wins.
Does trademark impact the open-ness of the designs?
Nope. Our open license means that you can copy the design, build derivative works, as long as you also share your design and attribute the original work. If you copy any design, you should never claim to be the original author!
Absolutely. Taking ownership of the SCUTTLE name, in trade, protects the rights of the business to sell SCUTTLE Kits that have a recognized brand. Any maker can build their own SCUTTLE robots and even sell them. But if you want to sell such a robot, you cannot confuse the customers to believe it’s our business’s product. You can offer a product that is “based on SCUTTLE®,” or you can give your product another name.
You can use it in two ways: independently or in collaboration with the business.
Let’s say you design an addon or variant to a SCUTTLE component, and you want to make it clear that it is compatible with the SCUTTLE platform.
Is the technology truly open if it is Trademarked?
Totally independent: If it’s not derived from our design, but rather an add-on, you can do just like folks who create mods for 3D printers. Prusa is a popular example of a trademarked platform with 3rd party mods. For example, you can find a Prusa Enclosure Kit by 3D Sourcerer. The enclosure is an original design by 3rd party designers, but they do not confuse the customers. The product title may use Prusa and the description says it is made for a Prusa printer.
How can I use the SCUTTLE name in my design?
Team up with us: If you want your contribution to become a product or software offered by SCUTTLE business, or sell your design directly on our website – just reach out and you can become a contributor of designs with the SCUTTLE brand. This will require collaboration, testing, and good quality.
Will the SCUTTLE business take credit if I create a mod?
Not at all. First, we respect the license of any open designs we utilize. Secondly, we want to credit you regardless of legal stuff. That means highlighting the designers of contributions as much as possible to honor your efforts. Through Hackster.io, grabCAD.com, and github.com you can publish your works (projects, models, and software) and we will work to make your creations discoverable at scuttlerobot.org.
Can my business get permission to use SCUTTLE®?
We are open to talk about it! Our goal is for maker-friendly technology to be available around the world. We can license intellectual rights through agreements that maintain quality and fairness, and help to make robotics accessible. Just reach out if you have an idea to pursue together.