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Essential Is Getting Sued For Allegedly Stealing Wireless Connector Technology (gizmodo.com) 43

"Keyssa, a wireless technology company backed by iPod creator and Nest founder Tony Fadell, filed a lawsuit against Essential on Monday, alleging that the company stole trade secrets and breached their nondisclosure agreement," reports Gizmodo. Keyssa has proprietary technology that reportedly lets users transfer large files in a matter of seconds by holding two devices side by side. From the report: According to the lawsuit, Keyssa and Essential engaged in conversations in which the wireless tech company "divulged to Essential proprietary technology enabling every facet of Keyssa's wireless connectivity," all of which was protected under a non-disclosure agreement. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Keyssa "deployed a team 20 of its top engineers and scientists" to educate Essential on its proprietary tech, sending them "many thousands of confidential emails, hundreds of confidential technical documents, and dozens of confidential presentations." Essential ended this relationship after over 10 months and later told Keyssa that its engineers would use a competing chip in the Essential Phone. But Keyssa is accusing Essential of including techniques in its phone that were gleaned from their relationship, despite their confidentiality agreement. Central to this lawsuit is one of the Essential Phone's key selling points: the option to swap in modular add-ons, made possible thanks to the phone's unique cordless connector. In short, if Keyssa's claims hold water, then one of the phone's defining factors is a product of theft.
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Essential Is Getting Sued For Allegedly Stealing Wireless Connector Technology

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  • by Gabest ( 852807 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @04:13AM (#55381817)
    Do you know how we bypassed wifi and bluetooth? We just directed our infra ports towards each other and the magic happened.
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      If you had a PalmPilot it even played a sound while tranferring data. Magick indeed. Needless to say, any self-respecting nerd immediately replaced Palm's default warble with a recording of a ToS tricorder - in fact, I think that was actually mandatory if you had one of the models with the flip-up screen protector and wanted to retain any nerd-cred at all. Good times!
    • Can't wait till LiFi comes out!
  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @04:13AM (#55381819)
    I do not think that word means what you think it means.
    • Actually that really exists in the real world.

      Car keyfobs are an everyday example (and ob /. car analogy) :
      - There's a mechanical connector that grabs and holds firmly the key fob/card on the dashboard's receptacle.
      (e.g.: Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Saab, Renault, etc.)
      - There are no electrical contact at all. All transmission happens over wireless (most) or by infrared (some older Mercedes), charging/powering is done wireless by induction (most).

      It's literally a wireless connector.

      This has the benefit of making

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      This is a wireless connector, not an electrical connector. "Connector" means "a thing that links two or more things together." So, it seems to be you who doesn't understand the meaning of the words.

      For the manufacturer, too, that's exactly what it's called [latticesemi.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @04:18AM (#55381825)

    This sort of thing really hacks me off. Keyssa's technology is just an extremely short range radio link. Being short range, they immediately gain massive channel SNR improvements while still remaining within RF regulatory limits. This naturally (as in, the fundamental laws of physics) allows them to push more data through the channel compared to a similar long-range, omni-directional RF link, and they will just be using a standard modulation scheme - possibly even a very inefficient one - to do that.
      All the magical claims they make on their website are a direct consequence of physics - not some stupidity on behalf of the WIFI developers.

    There is nothing magic about this. There is not even anything novel about this. At best they would have done some measurements/sims of the channel and applied an appropriate bunch of standard signal processing techniques to best deal with the channel characteristics, though I imagine that since the channel is so well defined (their system even slots together to mechanically hold the antenna in position) they barely even had to do this.

    Why do we put up with this sort of junk as a society? There are plenty of companies that do not have particularly protectable technology (e.g. the numerous GPS chipset vendors) but compete and make money by having high quality, easy to use products that are more desirable than their competitors, or by offering better support. I'm sure that if Keyssa had a better product then their competitors at the right price they would be in the Essential phone right now.

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      At best they would have done some measurements/sims of the channel and applied an appropriate bunch of standard signal processing techniques to best deal with the channel characteristics

      So Keyssa spent a bunch of time, energy, and money to develop techniques for high-speed close range data transfer using existing tool sets and you don't think that's patent-able? Isn't that 100% the point of patents? To make inventions available for others to build off of, with the ability to protect yourself if someone blatantly takes what you've invented without paying you for it?

      "radio links work better when they are close together, for obvious reasons" and "it's not that hard and it's been done before

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do we put up with this sort of junk as a society?

      Because it's worth it. We want to vote for Democrats and Republicans in every election, or else stay home. Seeing any other party on the ballot is distasteful enough, but actually voting for non-evil people would be intolerably repugnant. (Because if you don't vote for your evil people, those other evil people might win!!)

      Allowing bullshit patent (and other) policies, is the small price we pay to have elections be the way we want them.

      C'mon, people, thi

    • by hh4m ( 1549861 )

      I believe it operates in the V band at 60 GHz but they did not implement the WiGig standard. It's a pretty cool single chip solution tho... There are a few competing products in the market, 60 GHz space is crowded. I'd personally hold of until the E-band (70/80/90 GHz) or D-band (~140 GHz) single chip implementations hit the market. They have better range than 60 GHz and a lot more bandwidth... 100 Gbps wireless isn't too far away...

  • Google is accused of the same thing [mercurynews.com] on a large scale. I guess the Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?

  • Not enough details supplied to gauge merit of either sides position. Curious what kind of arrangement was agreed to allow 10 months of collaboration then take a hike we are pursuing a different direction. Was KEyssa gullibly over selling or Essential negotiating in bad faith , or other? âoeEssential ended this relationship after over 10 months and later told Keyssa that its engineers would use a competing chipâ Did Essential pass tech to the competitor ? Would expect the competing chip Co also
  • Since the Essential phone implements, "Wireless USB."

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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