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As far as I am aware, Cody Mayfield (UDW) had been using bearings long before the Lambda original (brass ring, Al stem) was released on Kickstarter. UDW top #7 (see picture) is very close to the Lambda design to my eye, predating it by about 6-7 months. Much of the top community takes place in private groups on USN and Facebook, not public forums that search crawlers have access to get the info easily - what you perceive herein as "the original" (Lambda) may in fact be considered a copy of one of the most well respected top makers in the community. - gathering exact evidence would take time and effort, it's scattered amongst these private forums.
Tops that show up on Massdrop, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are (very generally speaking) a mass production design based on previous custom (unique) one-off designs created by the makers well before you see them on these sites. They are bringing a bit of the custom community to the masses at a lower price point, in exchange for a not-as-unique top where dozens or even hundreds may be made.
There are three points to consider:
1) the innovation about the bearing ball claimed by the Lambda top is not the bearing ball idea itself but the use of ruby;
2) the innovation about the stem is making it hollow, which doesn't seem to be the case for UDW #7;
3) there are many differences in the shape of Lambda and UDW #7; they may be considered as details, but they are there.
That being said, I agree that there is a family resemblance, exactly as there is one between Spectre and Lambda. IMO, that doesn't make Lambda or Spectre less interesting. It's fortunate that every good idea is not copyrighted and that top makers can build on each others discoveries.