Artec Europe, makers of precision 3D scanners, is claiming Creality 3D Technology copied code from Artec Studio to make its own CR Studio 3D scanning software. It requested a temporary restraining order to prevent Kickstarter from distributing funds pledged to Creality for the CR -can Lizard. Artec is seeking a jury trial against the popular 3D printer maker for alleged patent and copyright infringement.
Creality did not respond to our request for comment but has reassured backers that it will honor their Kickstarter pledges. One backer in St. Louis received a message from Creality saying:
We have received your messages, and we are dealing with it now. Please give us some time, and rest assured that we will definitely send the product to you. Any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little more than $4 million US dollars was raised by 9,472 backers interested in Creality’s new 3D scanner. According to court documents, Artec feared that once the backer’s money is transferred to China, it would be “virtually impossible for Artec to recover any portion of these funds.”
Kickstarter’s lawyers have stated the company is a neutral party to the copyright dispute and, according to its terms of service, is obligated to transfer funds within 14 days of the conclusion of a successful campaign. However, the Kickstarter page for the CR-Scan Lizard has been replaced by a message about the intellectual property dispute.
Creality is best known as the manufacturer of affordable 3D printers, such as the popular Ender 3 Pro and Ender 2 Pro, which are among the best 3D printers overall. It partnered with Shenzhen Jimuyida Technology, a 3D digital application provider, to develop its new scanner.
Artec is known for the Artec Leo, a professional wireless 3D scanner priced at $29,800.
The copyright dispute revolves around the software behind the CR-Scan Lizard and the CR Scan 01. Tom’s Hardware was given the opportunity to independently review a prototype CR-Scan Lizard. We found the beta software to be somewhat lacking and in need of improvement, but we liked the hardware.
In its filing, Artec claims several former employees went to work for Jimuyida and brought with them improper copies of Artec’s code. Litigation over this intellectual property rewarded Artec exclusive rights to software it had developed.
Creality’s lawyer asserts that Jimuyida independently developed the code without the work of former Artec employees.
Kickstarter is an American company headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Creality is based in Shenzhen, China. Artec headquarters are in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg with offices in both Santa Clara, California and Shanghai, China. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York.
Court documents are available to the public at CourtListener.com under Artec Europe S.A.R.L. v. Schenzen Creality 3D Technology Co., LTD.
The Kickstarter is 'pulled' - although successfully pledged/filled on March 12, 2022 and the first scanners expected in April- now the site is gone, and the backers see an "unsuccessful pledges" listing for the scanner, despite once again - it being FULLY funded.
Creality claims they are trying to get refunds to everyone, yet many backers have not yet received one. On top of which, now, with pledgebox, they are trying to get backers to Pay Again for their units, except they are upselling the 'stretch goals' that were promised. You pledged the base unit? Cool, instead of the 'free upgrade' from the kick starter to get the Turn Table with it - "pay us more for the turn table", from the screenshots seen.
Keep in mind, the project was funded, and hit almost all it's stretch goals, so a free upgrade, 2 protective carrying cases, and a beanie should be going to every single backer. With this new pledgebox pay system, it doesn't seem to track you were a backer or not, and simply wants you to buy it again. (once again, before your refund has even arrived)
Honestly I feel another lawsuit is in the works, for failure to comply to Kickstarter rules - to where if a campaign is 'unsuccessful' - the backers are Refunded in full. The kickstarter lists it as unsuccessful, so therefore it should 100% be refunded.
As for the 'second chance' situation with pledge box - this just feels strange on many levels. If the Antec lawsuit fails creality - then the products would become 'illegally produced' and thus not supported, making them near useless (since they need dedicated software to run), if creality wins for some reason, then why the 'second chance sales' system? Just go back and send product to the backers, sure, delayed, but at least everything would be through the proper system without this back channel to get money.