By now, many of you have heard that Digital Dream Labs has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against UK-based Primo Toys for marketing and selling an educational toy in the U.S. that infringes on one of our patents. Here’s an FAQ that answers questions that you may have about the lawsuit.
When we designed Puzzlets, we developed an innovative method to teach children the basics of computer programming by arranging blocks on a game grid to control the movement of a character. We hold a U.S. patent that covers this proprietary method and technology. Primo Toys makes an educational toy called Cubetto, which also aims to teach children the basics of computer programming. While the Cubetto is different from Puzzlets in that it uses a wooden robot rather than a computer game, it uses the same protected system and method of arranging blocks on a grid to control character movements as we do in Puzzlets, and therefore infringes on our patent.
Earlier this year, Primo Toys raised nearly $1.6 million on Kickstarter to export its product worldwide, including into the U.S. In addition to raising funds from backers, Primo Toys counts Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and CEO of Zuckerberg media, among its top investors.
Truthfully, we don’t know yet. There’s a risk with every Kickstarter campaign that backers won’t get the product they were promised. While we know that many investors in Kickstarter campaigns lose their entire investment, we are hopeful that those who have purchased Cubetto through Kickstarter will be protected in any settlement. Our ultimate goal is to provide educators with tools that engage their students as they learn, and we desire to work out a mutually beneficial deal with Primo to ensure that its infringement of our patent doesn’t damage the people who support early computer science education.
Both Primo Toys and Digital Dream Labs began developing their respective products using a known form of analog circuit technology. Digital Dream Labs advanced the technology and filed a related application for a U.S. patent in March 2013. Primo then began using the same technology advancement. As soon as the patent office granted our patent, we immediately notified Primo Toys of its patent infringement.
Everyone at Digital Dream Labs has a deep dedication to creating innovative toys that to help them build skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). We’re very pleased that our company is part of a larger hands-on educational movement that integrates learning into play, and we support several non-profit STEAM education projects in partnership with organizations such as Carnegie Mellon University, the Grable Foundation and the Moving Lives of Kids Mural Program.
We invested substantial time and money to develop our innovative system and method of education, and we took the appropriate steps to guard that investment by legally protecting our work with a patent. Primo Toys had a legal obligation to do basic patent research before marketing a product in the United States, but failed to do so. Even after we told Primo about our patent, the company decided to sell in the U.S. market. This lawsuit is a necessary step to protect our work and investment.