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Arrington Responds To the JooJoo, Files Suit 91

itwbennett writes "Not normally 'one to enjoy a casual read of a lawsuit,' blogger Peter Smith admits to finding the suit Michael Arrington is filing against Fusion Garage over the JooJoo (nee CrunchPad) fascinating. 'Skip to page 4, starting with item 11,' says Smith. 'At this point I don't know what to think, Every time I get close to pretty much accepting Arrington's story at face value, he pulls something that makes me stop and reexamine his arguments.' For example, says Smith, in one bullet point in Arrington's latest salvo, he calls out the press, saying 'it is irresponsible for press to link to the pre-sale site.' 'This attempt to directly sway the press away from Fusion Garage really spikes my suspicion meter' says Smith. 'After all, Arrington is the press. If I started writing screeds advising him on what he should or should not say about a product, what would he think?'"
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Arrington Responds To the JooJoo, Files Suit

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  • Fusion Garage is, and always has been, a company on the edge of going out of business. Their main shareholder, the guy who wrote the now infamous email telling us that we were no longer part of the project, is a chiropractor named Bruce Lee. The company was constantly raising debt from unsavory investors, borderline loansharks ...

    ... and zombie martial artists infecting people under the guise of 'chiropracty.' Arrington is requesting chainsaws, shotguns and three volunteers from the straggling group of survivors ...

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Friday December 11, 2009 @02:57PM (#30405316) Journal
    I'm not a law-talkin' guy but he's suing them under the Lanham Act [] which seems to be for all things trademark including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising. So way back when this first hit Slashdot, I went poking around for trademarks and patents belonging to Arrington. All I found was the trademark for Crunchpad assigned to Interserve, Inc (I assume that's Arrington). No patents.

    So, I'm not saying what they've done is right or moral, but if Fusion Garage steers clear of using 'Crunchpad' and only calls it JooJoo, then what kind of case does Arrington have? False advertising for the news articles calling JooJoo the 'reborn Crunchpad'? I'm a bit confused as to how this is going to work and I think Arrington just got hustled. Or was never doing anything at all but wanted to be a part of it. I guess we'll never know the unadulterated truth. Anyone close to this have more details/proof?
    • by jhoger ( 519683 )

      It all hinges on what intellectual property Arrington has. I mean, a web tablet... is that innovative? Really? Web only devices have been around for some time. Making an oversized PDA that only does web browsing does not equal innovation.
      So if all the IP he has is trademarks that Fusion Garage is not using, well, game over. Take it as a life lesson and move on.

      • by yincrash ( 854885 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:11PM (#30405496)
        According to Arrington, a lot of the hardware IP is technically owned by Pegatron, to be exclusively licensed to Crunchpad. However, it seems that Fusion Garage has taken that IP to another ODM to get it manufactured which would be IP theft if that is the case.
        • by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:33PM (#30405772)
          Only there's no such thing as generic IP, and there's no such thing as "IP theft", and in any event, he's not suing over THAT, he's suing over the trademark "CrunchPad", which they don't appear to be using.
          • I would assume they would be considered trade secrets or covered under copyright. And Arrington noted that that lawsuit would have to come from Pegatron, which would make sense if they are the owners.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by SydShamino ( 547793 )

              Trade secrets are only protected if they are held secret. In order to hold something secret when shared with a third party, they must sign a non-disclosure agreement.

              Thus, if they are trade secrets, he should be suing for contract violations. If they are copyrights, such as on source code or one a printed circuit board, he should be suing for copyright violations.

              In neither case will a trademark suit help, and if he's released the source code as open source, and the vendor takes the time to respin the PCB

    • Based on a reading over at engadget it appears the lawsuit doesn't even mention IP theft, maybe he gave them none. We'll see how this plays out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Firehed ( 942385 )

      Under trademark law? Probably nothing. But he'd have been grossly negligent to be this far along in the development cycle without some sort of contract in place between himself (or TC) and Fusion Garage (I've heard that there were mostly verbal agreements in place, which wouldn't hold up in court, but Arrington is/was a lawyer and should know better). Presumably, something happened that would have been in breach of that contract and would constitute a valid lawsuit.

      • by Tobor the Eighth Man ( 13061 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:42PM (#30405884)

        Oral contacts are, in general, just as valid as written ones, assuming you can prove their existence. I agree that it'd be silly if it turns out there's no clearly outlined and dually signed written agreement, but depending on the exact nature of it, an oral contract may be all he needs.

        • The answer you seek is in the Visas. If these FG folks got into America through to conduct any form of business, as Arrington claims, they'll have a lot of explaining to do as to why they stepped into sacred uncle sam's land and did not conduct aforementioned business. I'm a Brazilian and it's effing annoying to get a business visa to the usa; if techcrunch helped or filed the wonderful, marvelous, USA immigration forms, then I think they can start from there.
        • An IP lawyer once told me: A contract is only worth about as much as the paper it's written on.

    • by fooslacker ( 961470 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @04:18PM (#30406248)
      So I'm not a law talking guy either but I did read the lawsuit and he's suing them under more than just the Lenham act.

      First, Under Lahnam he's suing theme for false advertising that damaged TechCrunch

      Second, Under California law he's suing them for "breach of fiduciary duty" claiming they violated an implicit partnership which is formed automatically under CA law (according to the lawsuit)

      Third (I assume also under the California partnership theory) he's suing for "misappropriate of business ideas" and claiming that Fusion Garage doesn't own the IP but rather that the partnership does.

      Forth, he's suing them for fraud under CA law claiming they were basically liars and thieves.

      Fifth, he's claiming "unlawful business practices and false advertising" under CA law. (which I assume is similar to the first cause for action but under the CA state laws that are relevant rather than the Lanham Act)

      It then goes on to say what should be done to make things right, demand a jury trial, and file some "exhibits". I'm not pro or con one way or the other but it's not as simple as he's filing suit under a trademark law so he doesn't have a chance and again, IANAL.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:00PM (#30405356) Homepage

    Are the lawyers. The Crunchpad/JooJoo was doomed from the start: too expensive given the current technology...

    So all that will happen out of this is entertaining lawsuits where the laywers make their money and everyone else just laughs.

  • Support? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ractive ( 679038 )
    If Dell / HP tech support is crappy, and those are well established companies, imagine how this will be.
    Even with TechCrunch behind it and at $200 the stuff seemed dubious, now without, with all this litigation and at $500... I think I'm gonna pass.
  • Arrington laying it on a bit thick, firing every bit of ammo he can muster?

    I mean, sure the guy has an understandable grievance and all, but seriously - why not stick to the points that aren't nearly as easy to drag off to the philosophical

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mweather ( 1089505 ) Arrington laying it on a bit thick, firing every bit of ammo he can muster?

      That's what you're supposed to do in a lawsuit. You throw whatever you can and see what sticks.

      • by Tobor the Eighth Man ( 13061 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:21PM (#30405620)

        That's what you're supposed to do in a lawsuit. You throw whatever you can and see what sticks.

        That may be what you're supposed to do within the confines of legal proceedings, but as far as I know it's generally not advisable to make such public (and fairly inflammatory) statements about your opponents in ongoing legal proceedings.

        • Why not? Seems to have worked for SCO.
        • This is a PR war also; he wants to, well, crunch fusion garage; all the while attracting other potential investors/partners. Hell, all it takes is one phone call from someone high up at Dell or Google and the thing is built. PR overrules lawyers, always! (unless the court says otherwise).

          On other news, with Android and Chrome OS on the market, who would like to get on a sinking boat of a losing OS???

  • TFA not credible (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shashark ( 836922 ) * on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:10PM (#30405482)
    Every time I get close to pretty much accepting Arrington's story at face value, he pulls something that makes me stop and reexamine his arguments.

    TFA starts with a promise but quickly loses the plot. Smith fights Arrington's ambiguity with ambiguity. Alright - so Arrington hates this guy and calls press out. Big deal. Where are the facts?
    • by ZerMongo ( 1129583 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @04:28PM (#30406404) Homepage
      I read the lawsuit. IANAL, et. al., but it seems to come down to a fundamental question: Did TechCrunch materially contribute to the production of the Crunchpad (nee JooJoo)? Arrington lays out pretty convincing arguments. He notes the idea was conceived and developed to at least the point of Prototype A without the involvement of Fusion Garage at all. Then, at various points, TC directly paid money owed by FG, as well as providing a place for them to stay when FG's development team flew out to SF to work with TC. He (quite rightly) asserts that there is no reason for FG to have flown to the states if they indeed were the sole developers of the CP. There are some ancillary points (false advertising for the JooJoo that it's FG's to sell, solely developed, misrepresentation by FG that they were developing a browser-based OS [they weren't], and a few other misrepresentation claims), but reading the e-mails attached as exhibits there is another strange thing. There are two competing narratives here: One, advanced by Arrington, is a joint project. The other, advanced by FG CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan, argues that FG developed the entire thing. CR's version has been repeated to the press as well as in private e-mails to his investors -- which were sent after he agreed (via e-mail) for FG to be acquired by TC for 35%, at least 5% lower than he would have preferred. Thus far, I haven't read of any evidence that FG's story is correct, and there is nothing that refutes the assertions made by Arrington. Thus, for now, I have to come down his side. But hopefully the court case will make everything clear.
  • by z4ns4stu ( 1607909 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:11PM (#30405492)
    From TFA:

    In the meanwhile, I'll go back to waiting for an affordable tablet to use while laying on the couch. If nothing else, I have the iTablet to look forward to!

    If he things Apple is going to release "an affordable tablet" he needs a reality check.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If he things Apple is going to release "an affordable tablet" he needs a reality check.

      Year 20XX:
      Apple releases the very expensive iTablet and creates the market for tablet PCs (yes, some exist now, as do netbooks, but they all suck)

      Year 20XX+5:
      Generic clones of the iTablet are finally released that are remotely comparable to the iTablet's features and ease of use. And they cost 50% as much.

      Year 20XX+10:
      The clones now coast 5% as much as the iTablet, and Apple finally reduces the price of the iTablet to what is "affordable", if still twice as expensive as its competitors.

    • Cost rarely stops an Apple fan in his tracks.
  • by kaizendojo ( 956951 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:12PM (#30405508)
    This is why we STILL don't have fucking jet packs and robotic sex dolls.

    All kidding aside, if these jokers spent as much time DEVELOPING as they did LITIGATING, just imagine the cool stuff we'd have.
  • by faust2097 ( 137829 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:12PM (#30405510)

    Wasn't the entire point of the CrunchPad to show how Michael Arrington was smarter than the entire consumer electronics industry and to highlight how he's a brilliant, super connected Silicon Valley darling? The FusionGarage guys seem to have a pretty good point in that Arringon apparently never delivered on his promised to hook them up with VC and supplier contacts.

    Techcrunch is the Drudge Report of tech blogs and Arrington is a douche who seems to piss off every person he encounters.

    • by tixxit ( 1107127 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:42PM (#30405892)
      I think that's it. He mentions investors, but says they would only invest after the product is launched. In other words, he found investors who said, "if it's a success, we'll invest," which is kind of stupid, because, if its a success, you wouldn't have a problem finding investors anyways, with or without Arrington. Not making up my mind one way or another though, until I see the outcome of this lawsuit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by subsystem ( 1568177 )
      I agree. I seem to remember Arrington posting rumors about handing user data over to the RIAA back in February, and then AGAIN in May. As far as I know, both of these rumors turned out to be false. He never said anything about his source, just that it was a very trustworthy one, and he never posted a retraction. He did, however, make a post in May ridiculing because its servers overheated and were taken offline.
    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      Isn't TechCrunch one of those 'tarded blogs that every other post is "Google did this", "Google did that", "Twitter did this", "Twitter did that", "some social web site queefed [mightly]", "some Web 2.0 startup farted [soundly]", "some [dumbass] VC invested [pissed away] $15 million for another [dumbass] Web 2.0 idea"? Or am I thinking of Mashable or ReadWriteWeb?

    • I don't like Techcrunch either, but the truth is they're really not that far off from most other tech blogs. Chock full of fanboys without a clue about anything other than the toys they play with, and the only reason they get to post their blogs there is because they can write reasonably grammatically correct bits. I couldn't care less, though, if it was just an ego project for Arrington...innovation happens when someone who is moderately clued in decides they want something better than the current produc
    • by unix1 ( 1667411 )

      The FusionGarage guys seem to have a pretty good point in that Arringon apparently never delivered on his promised to hook them up with VC and supplier contacts.

      I don't know - I read the e-mails attached to the lawsuit, and they pretty much say TechCrunch would acquire Fusion Garage, and FG's investors would have 35% stake in the resulting company. At least, it looks like that was the intention of FG and TC, and FG CEO was grateful for it; that is, until FG delivered a new bombshell proposition of 90/10 split favoring them, supposedly coming from the Bruce Lee dude.

      We still have to wait for FG's response, and what evidence they produce of your claimed promise of "V

    • I've heard game developers are often approached by folks who say "hey, I've got a great *idea* for a video game, but I don't know how to program. How about I share my ideas with you, you program the video game, and we split the profits 50/50!".

      I wonder if it was a similar sitation here. I'm leaning towards believing that Fusion Garage and Chandra Rathakrishnan have the actual ability to design and create the hardware, and Arrington is just a douchebag blogger with an inflated sense of how important his i

  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:13PM (#30405524) Homepage Journal

    I have no idea who any of the people involved are, or what their products (or websites maybe?) are supposed to do. For the sake of us who aren't familiar with every current lawsuit, could you please add a little context to the story summaries? This isn't exactly like mentioning a new salvo in IBM v. SCO where you can assume a majority of Slashdotters will have a clue WTF you're talking about.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Conchobair ( 1648793 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:28PM (#30405698)
      Michael Arrington was involved in a project for the CrunchPad, a Linux-based tablet PC designed for Web surfing. Magazines such as Wired and Forbes have named Arrington one of the most powerful people on the Internet due to his TechCrunch blog. There was much hype on the product, being reatured in The Business Insider , Popular Mechanics and the Washington Post. On November 30, 2009, Arrington reported that CrunchPad project had ended due to disagreements between himself and the Fusion Garage team, but on December 7, 2009, Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan announced that the CrunchPad would be released by the company as the Joo Joo, and that it will go on sale December 11, 2009 for $499 USD. Hilarity ensued.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gclef ( 96311 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:39PM (#30405842)

      Arrington: tech blogger/commentator/etc.

      TechCrunch: his site:

      CrunchPad: Arrington's idea for a cheap, tablet device that used a browser OS to do basic web stuff. He wanted it to cost ~ $200.

      FusionGarage: The company Arrington's group partnered with to develop the OS & do some of the hardware integration work.

      JooJoo: the name that FusionGarage released the CrunchPad under when they tried to go solo, ditching Arrington.

    • I have no idea who any of the people involved are, or what their products (or websites maybe?) are supposed to do. For the sake of us who aren't familiar with every current lawsuit, could you please add a little context to the story summaries? This isn't exactly like mentioning a new salvo in IBM v. SCO where you can assume a majority of Slashdotters will have a clue WTF you're talking about. []

      Fascinating, isn't it?

  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:15PM (#30405538) Journal

    The more I learn about this, the more it looks like one of those failed relationships where the guy thought things were getting serious and the girl was never looking for a long-term attachment.

    Neither one can be blamed or absolved completely; they both were under the illusion that the other shared their view. Of course, the couple should have talked a little more about what they both wanted out of the relationship, as should Arrington and Fusion Garage have.

    Love, or that dizzying sense that you're going to change an industry. Both serotonin.

  • misquote (Score:5, Informative)

    by kLaNk ( 82409 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:23PM (#30405636)

    The quote in the summary about not wanting press to link to the pre-sale site is a bit out of context. The full quote makes slightly more sense:

    Fusion Garage’s financial situation is a mess, and it is inappropriate for press to recommend to people to pre-buy a CrunchPad. The company has not yet hired an attorney to respond to our lawsuit. We believe they do not have the cash flow to do so. When the device goes on pre sales today, linked to from scores of gadget and press sites, they will suddenly have cash flow to defend themselves. What they won’t have is cash flow to build the devices. We believe it is irresponsible for press to link to the pre-sale site without disclosing this to readers.

  • It doesn't seem that he contributed anything to this project other than marketing support. If that's the case, 35% of the company seems astronomically generous.

    • by slashmojo ( 818930 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:07PM (#30407608)

      AFAIK, he initiated the project, hired engineers (hw & sw), generated masses of publicity through his blogs and business network, hosted FG people at his offices, allegedly made all sorts of distribution deals.. and presumably spending considerable sums in the process. Seems like he (and his company) did rather a lot and was the prime (and very public) driving force from the start.

      FG's own blog apparently gave credence to Arringtons version which is probably why they took it down.. unfortunately for them the 'incriminating' posts still exist on google cache and likely many other places. Oops.

      However FG have Bruce Lee on their side so it will be a tough fight.. Arrington may need to call in Chuck Norris for some roundhouse support.

      • If Arrington did have the engineers in his employ, then he'd own the IP and FG wouldn't be able to push him out. Everything I've read has said FG did the engineering.

        That just leaves the publicity from his blog and other touchy feely marketing somesuch. 35% seems well and above reasonable for that.

        • To quote TFA..

          "That’s not correct. The entire blueprint of the device was created by me. And we also have hired direct resources, including the former head of hardware at Vudu, as well as very high level software engineers, who have worked directly on the project here and in Singapore with the Fusion Garage team."

          Not sure what he means by 'entire blueprint' but anyway he clearly states that he hired hardware and software engineers to work directly on the project.

          • But if that were true, he'd own the IP. I've met many, many non technical folks who will quite blithely claim they "created the entire blueprint" of whatever their partners actually did.

            This whole situation seems more than mildly racist to me. I don't imagine anyone would pay the least attention to Arrington's claims if FG weren't Indian.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by linhares ( 1241614 )
        If anyone subscribed to it in google reader or other feeds, it's probably still there. It will be nice to read what was in there. Arrington's chuck norris is in the US visas. If it was really techcrunch that got visas for that guy with a wig and his band, then either a) they conducted official business with, or b) they Fking lied to Uncle Sam (which is not a good position to be in in an american court, i would imagine there may be some crimes involved way beyond the civil stuff).
  • Maybe, Maybe not (Score:4, Informative)

    by Exstatica ( 769958 ) * on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:35PM (#30405802) Homepage
    I think Gizmodo said it right in this article [] "if Arrington's lawsuit has even a hint of truth to it regarding the lack of lack of Fusion Garage's sound capital resource—is no longer an option for the sane or even marginally patient. I mean, just wait til it ships and gets reviewed before giving these guys any money, ok?" One, I wouldn't put 500 bucks down on a device that is a web browser, and looks like e-ink. I want something very fresh. I've never owned an apple product, but if the rumored tablet is real, and is off the charts, I'll buy it. Otherwise I'm going to wait a year to see what other products come to light.
  • TechCrunch's value as a source for news and analysis (especially analysis) has fallen as a result of this escapade. How much trust can we place in its stories when the owner, operator and editor in chief fails to cover a business enterprise with a written contract or background check of his business partners?

    The lesson for readers is that developing, manufacturing and successfully marketing any product is hard. Creating a browser in a tablet that is a cost effective alternative to existing products is very

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think a bigger issue in terms of their status as a source of news and analysis is the fact that Arrington is covering it at all. I know Arrington has never been particularly objective or (as far as I know) made claims that he is, but it seems a little irresponsible to use your news site as a way to air personal grievances, at least if you want to continue to be regarded as a site for news.

      At the very least, one of the other TC writers should be covering it.

      • "it seems a little irresponsible to use your news site as a way to air personal grievances, at least if you want to continue to be regarded as a site for news."

        It doesn't seem to bother most slashdot editors.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by unix1 ( 1667411 )

        TechCrunch is a blog, not a news site. It is filled with opinions from different bloggers that they employ, including Michael Arrington's himself. It is perfectly valid to discuss the lawsuit on his blog.

        However, moving on from that point, I read the lawsuit including the allegations and attached e-mail evidence. 2 things I noticed are (IANAL):

        1. Michael Arrington loses some points by (a) not having something resembling a formal contract in place for the joint project - yes, there are e-mails going back and

  • This seems to involve some feud over clones of renamed vaporware products. I think.


  • After a quick read through part of the document linked to, it sounds like this was a partnership as per the law (if you act and give the impression that you are partners, under the law, you are to those parties who you created the impression to). So there would be breach of fiduciary duty on Fusion Garage's part... This looks like a lawyer's wet dream in some respects... Though it will be interesting how the lawyers will play this...

    Also...what is TC trying to get out of this? All they will likely get
  • Fail Lawsuit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Skellbasher ( 896203 )
    Arrington isn't suing for breach of contract. He isn't suing for on any grounds related to the IP. To me, this suit is simply intended to sic legal costs on Fusion Garage since they backed out of whatever verbal or implied deal that they had with Arrington, and he's mad about it. The claims aren't frivolous, but they're pretty weak, and not what Arrington has said the actual problems were.
  • From the Wikipedia article [] (quote from Arrington himself):

    So let’s design it, build a few and then open source the specs so anyone can create them.
    If everything works well, we’d then open source the design and software and let anyone build one that wants to.

    • by Haidon ( 1628521 )
      That very quote is included in the lawsuit filing, as well as one other quote where Arrington said [paraphrased] that Fusion Garage should be given all the credit for Prototype C. Those 2 quotes really don't help TC's position.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.