Lawsuit filed against Google accusing it stealing Balloons for its Project Loon
All you must be familiar with Google’s Project Loon, which seeks to bring Internet to the millions of users situated in remote areas through balloons. Well, the balloons used by Google in this project are stolen according to Space Data Corporation. The company says that Google has stolen their balloon based technology.
Space Data Corporation has now filed a lawsuit against Google by jury trial for patent rights infringement by Google and Alphabet accusing the companies of stealing their balloon based communication technologies.
For the unintiated, Project Loon is Google’s pet project which seeks to send thousands of helium balloons around the world and deliver Internet to users in remote areas. The project was started in June 2013 by the top secret Google Division X and currently being tested out in India, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and Latin America. Google says it is using own manufacturing facility and automated systems to deliver a balloons in the air. However, Space Data Corporation alleged that is false and the balloon technology belongs to them.
Space Data Corporation says that Google is using the very same technology for its Project Loon balloons, which the company uses in SkySat and SkySite systems. The two systems use weather balloons to carry radio transceivers 60,000 and 100,000 feet in the air. Space Data Corporations says that cluster of just 70 of these high altitude balloons can provide complete wireless coverage to the continental united states for voice as well as data services.
In the case filing, Space Data Corporation has accused Google representatives of stealing confidential information and trade secrets to use in its Project Loon. The company says that 10 Google representatives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had met with Space Data Corporation executives in 2007 and 2008. These meetings were covered with a non disclosure agreement. Space Data alleges that this NDA was violated and Google used the information it had on the implementation of Space Data Corporation technology to proceed with development of Project Loon. Negotiations of a partnership between Google and Space Data Corporation apparently failed at that time, reports The Stack.
The case filed by Space Data Corporation shows a comparison between a patent granted to Space Data Corporation, and a schematic of Google’s Project Loon on its web site. The filing also carries photos of Google co-founders launching Space Data Corporations balloons during their visit to the Space Data Corporation facility. According to the lawsuit, Google had full access to the Space Data Corporation’s production line and network operation center which may have helped it siphon of confidential data.
The original PDF document of the original filing can be accessed here.