Patent law news: Companies accuse each other of infringement

Glenn W. Peterson

California smartphone users may not realize the amount of technology that goes into being able to turn the screen on their phones from vertical to horizontal. They may also not realize the amount of money involved in that technology as it relates to patent law. The current dispute between Eko, an interactive video company, and Quibi, a short-form mobile video streaming company, illustrates how important the ownership of this technology could be.

The two companies are arguing over which one infringed upon the other party’s patents relating to this particular technology. Which party prevails could rest on timing. Eko claims that individuals now involved at Quibi received intimate knowledge of Eko’s technology before they were part of Quibi. Apparently, another company was considering investing in Eko, and as part of the proposal, some individuals received knowledge that the company says Quibi is now using.

Eko says it filed for its patent in 2015 and that Quibi’s turnstyle technology is nearly identical to the one Eko uses. On the other hand, Quibi says it filed for its patent in 2019. However, filing for a patent does not necessarily guarantee an approval, and this issue could become a focus of the litigation Quibi recently filed against Eko.

The protection of intellectual property is a primary consideration for many California companies as it is for these two. Patent law offers certain protections to those who receive patent approval, and in some cases, more than one company could apply substantially similar patents. The timing of the applications and the approvals of these patents could make the difference when it comes to cases such as this one.