The idea that much of what is considered innovative or revolutionary may actually simply built upon a foundation of borrowed or stolen ideas is not a new one, but it's one that gets trotted out a lot in this century. The usual sequence of events dictates that a company gets big off a great new idea, another company pops up to content that new idea isn't in fact new and is their old idea stolen and re-purposed, and the matter goes to court to be settled months or years down the line. Our cynicism jades our view and begs the question: Is this company taking legal action now because the success brought the infringement to light, or because the success offers an opportunity to cash in? It's unfair to the businesses duly wronged, sure, but there are enough cases to suggest there's something to the latter view — enough to raise questions about every case you come across.
Sometimes it's not even success, but the prospect of success, that can draw legal fire. Setting what feels like a new record for quickest lawsuit of a "big" company, Quibi is being sued by a New York firm that claims the yet-to-be-launched platform infringed upon its patent with one of its signature features. For those not up on the latest in streaming, Quibi is the new, mobile-only streaming app that promises shows and content that is less than ten minutes in length. It has considerable stars and considerable money behind it ahead of its April 6th launch, and now, a possible court case to boot.
Eko, which creates interactive videos, claims that Quibi not only violated their patents in developing its "Turnstyle" feature — which offers different videos to watch on the platform based upon the orientation of the phone — but used stolen trade secrets in doing so. In its filing, Eko claims that some Quibi employees had access to the trade secrets in their roles as Quibi and Snapchat and used those secrets in developing its Turnstyle technology; Quibi, as can be expected, refuted Eko's claims, asserting that the company developed Turnstyle in-house.
Doubtless the suit won't deter or dampen Quibi's big launch; the demand for content is a gaping maw not to be sated, particularly in these times when we're seeking entertainment that doesn't require we walk outside our doors. It does, however, serve as as reminder that with so much development going on in tech, it's almost a matter of course that companies are accusing or being accused of pilfering one another's ideas, depending on the day.