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Google accused of racketeering

by on09 October 2017

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A renowned architect has accused Google of racketeering, saying in a lawsuit the company has a pattern of stealing trade secrets from people it first invites to collaborate.

Architect Eli Attia said he spent 50 years developing what his lawsuit calls "game-changing new technology" for building construction.

Google in 2010 struck a deal to work with him on commercialisng it as software, and Attia moved with his family from New York to Palo Alto to focus on the initiative, code-named "Project Genie". The project was undertaken in Google's secretive "Google X" unit for experimental "moonshots".

But then Google and its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin "plotted to squeeze Attia out of the project" and pretended to kill it but used Attia's technology to "surreptitiously" spin off Project Genie into a new company, according to the lawsuit.

This week, a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court approved the addition of racketeering claims to the lawsuit originally filed in 2014. Attia's legal team uncovered six other incidents in which Google is alleged to have engaged in a "substantially similar fact pattern of misappropriation of trade secrets" from other people or companies", according to a July 25 legal filing from Attia.

Project Loon - also a Google X project - "is embroiled in a lawsuit with Space Data, a small company accusing Alphabet of patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract following a failed acquisition bid".

The lawyer for the racketeering suit complains Google can deploy a "virtually unlimited budget to fight these things in court".

Last modified on 09 October 2017
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