Following claims that it stole trade secrets, US mobile video platform Quibi, founded in 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg and due to launch on 6 April, has launched legal proceedings against tech company Eko, denying patent infringement and stating that the latter “embarked on a campaign of threats and harassment” against the California-based streaming company.
Quibi, an over-the-top (OTT) service (so-called because it offers streamed media directly to viewers online) has stated its intention to commission over $1 billion of original content in its first year of operation. Eko has alleged that Quibi’s “Turnstyle” feature, whereby Quibi will automatically detect the orientation (landscape or portrait) of a viewer’s device while content is streaming, was stolen from Eko after Katzenberg and Yoni Bloch, CEO of Eko, met in 2017 to discuss investment opportunities. This was, claims Eko, followed by two further meetings, one as recently as 2019, between employees of the two companies. Eko alleges that Quibi employees stole not only trade secrets but actual source code, allegations Quibi firmly refutes. Eko was granted a patent in relation to device orientation in 2019, whereas Quibi was granted a patent for Turnstyle in 2020.
The Quibi lawsuit states that “The employees referenced by Eko are not engineers or computer programmers, do not read source code, and would have had no reason to request or obtain Eko code. In any event, no Quibi employee brought or used any Eko trade secrets, computer code, or proprietary information.
“As a result, an actual case and controversy exists between Quibi and Eko, requiring Quibi to seek a declaratory judgment addressing the parties’ rights and obligations, and to enjoin Eko from taking any further steps to improperly tarnish Quibi’s brand or to interfere with Quibi’s highly anticipated launch”.
Responding to Quibi’s action, Eko described the lawsuit as a “PR stunt”.