Dec 1, 2016

Plagiarism or Co-incident? Coin sorting wallet designers clash on Kickstarter.

Ever since Kickstarter allows Singaporean creators to launch their projects in September, there has been a rush of projects being listed. Many did not manage to survive the harsh world of crowdfunding and a few will stand and gain media recognition. One of the project that succeeded in doing so is the KIN wallet. Designed by a team of students in the NUS School of Industry Design, the project managed to raise closed to $275,000 with 4 more hours to go. The key selling point of this wallet is that it is able to sort coins and notes into separate compartments from a common point of entry. They seem to be working with an international product design firm Allocacoc which will probably provide them with design, manufacturing and distribution support. 





2 Days before the campaign ended, another Singapore creator launched a similar coin sorting wallet  called Numistar launched by Eden Kew.



Kickstarter backers started to speculate if there is industrial plagiarism involved between these two creators.



One of key concerns among the backers is the functionality of the coin sorting mechanism, which KIN wallet designers have decided to keep it under wraps. There have been worries that the promised product features may not work, as experienced by many other similar Kickstarter products which failed to function as they should. Many of these projects also declined to share in depth the key mechanics which propels their unique selling point which is demostrated by the failed Zano drone project. They explained that they wanted to prevent a rip-off in their design by China manufacturers which have been duplicating the designs of successful Kickstarter projects in recent times.

On the other end, Numistar wallet designer elaborated on the design of the coin sorting mechanism in detail.  

In response to the possibility of plagiarism, the designers of KIN wallet may choose to take legal action against the Numistar wallet designer.


The Numistar wallet designer defended his design by highlighting the fact that the wallet has been in prototype phase since September and it has been mentioned in his facebook page. He also highlighted the difference between Numistar and KIN.



He ended his update by sharing that it takes time to design and test these products and it is by coincident that both projects are launched in close proximity with each other.


As part of the Singapore design ecology, I hope that the designers of KIN and NUMISTAR will work things out peacefully between both of them. Running a design business in Singapore is already a difficult business with our small market and lack of hardware ecology within the country. Designers should work together to put more Singaporean design products in the global arena and talk things out among themselves should a conflict arises. An expensive lawsuit is the last thing our fragile design ecosystem needs.

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