What Can You Do If Your Kickstarter Project Gets Involved in an IP Dispute

Assume that you're suddenly hit with an IP dispute…

Echy Wong

October 23, 2023

What happens when your Kickstarter project encounters an IP dispute? This article will walk you through the ins and outs of how a Kickstarter IP dispute works and what steps you can take to resolve it. So, let's delve into this intricate process.

What Is a Kickstarter IP Dispute?

Kickstarter, as a crowdfunding platform, values the protection of intellectual property. An IP dispute on Kickstarter occurs when someone claims that your project infringes upon their intellectual property rights, such as a trademark, copyright, or patent. This can result in your project being temporarily hidden from public view.

Here’s the information that you receive from Kickstarter when this happens:

“Rather than immediately cancel your project, Kickstarter has a system that lets us simply remove it from public view. Your project’s funding (and the countdown to its deadline) is paused, but pledges and lines of communication stay intact. This leaves room for project recovery if the dispute is resolved with the trademark owner. If a project is successful, pledges will not be collected while a project remains in dispute. If the dispute is resolved, pledges can be collected and the project restored to public view. The project will be hidden for 30 days. If you do not resolve the trademark dispute with the trademark owner in that time, the project will be canceled.”

After you get this message, there is a big red notice that reads urgent: Your project is the subject of an IP dispute on your creator dashboard.

Initial Actions When Faced with an IP Dispute

The moment you receive a notice from Kickstarter about an IP dispute, it's essential to take immediate action. Here's what you need to do:

  • Do Not Panic: Instead of canceling your project right away, Kickstarter has a system in place that allows them to temporarily remove your project from public view. This preserves your project's funding and communication with backers.
  • Pause in Funding: During the dispute, the countdown to your project's deadline is paused, and pledges are not collected. This pause allows room for potential project recovery if the dispute is resolved with the trademark owner.
  • Project Hidden for 30 Days: Kickstarter will hide your project for 30 days. It's crucial to resolve the trademark dispute within this period to prevent project cancellation.

Taking Action to Resolve the Dispute

It's essential to carefully assess what elements of your project are in dispute, whether it's a title, a word, a song, or any other element. The goal is to remove or replace anything related to the disputed intellectual property.

Precautionary Measures

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Search Kickstarter Before Naming: To avoid potential disputes, it's advisable to search Kickstarter to ensure there are no similar projects or trademarks.
  • Dispute Without a Registered Trademark: It's important to note that people can initiate a dispute on Kickstarter without a registered trademark. Thus, it's essential to be cautious and proactive in your project naming.
  • Time Is Not Lost: While your project is hidden, time is not wasted. You can work on resolving the dispute during this period.
  • Patience with Kickstarter Support: Be patient and work closely with Kickstarter Support Team to navigate the IP dispute process.
  • Remove Disputed Elements: During the dispute, remove and delete any content that is the subject of the dispute. This includes your project video and any other related elements. You can always edit your project page after the dispute is resolved.
  • Reactivate Your Project: Once the dispute is resolved, act promptly to get your project back online and publicly viewable. This enables you to post updates to backers and stop messaging them individually.
  • Communicate with Backers: Reach out to backers who may have canceled their pledges while your project was hidden. Communication is key to maintaining trust and support.