Essential sued by Keyssa over supposedly stealing connector technology

Privately owned Keyssa Inc, backed by iPod co-creator Tony Fadell is suing Essential Products Inc, the smartphone startup founded by Andy Rubin earlier this year. This comes as a result of Essential allegedly stealing connector technology from the company.

Keyssa might not be a familiar name to many, but records show that it has been working on a certain type of wireless communication technology since 2009. This mostly involves data transfer without the use of Wi-Fi but still more reliable than Bluetooth or NFC.

Bringing that technology to life was a Keyssa-developed microchip, which allows for low-frequency data transmissions without relying on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks. The Essential was supposed to be the big debut for this technology, and later on it launched with a magnetic connector for modular parts and wireless data transfers.

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Now you see, this is where it gets interesting. Keyssa and Essential were negotiating for about 10 months for the inclusion of Keyssa’s technology inside the Essential Phone, but Andy Rubin’s company suddenly decided to stop the discussions and use a different chip. Essential Products Inc instead went with SiBEAM, a rival company owned by Lattice Semiconductor.

However Keyssa says that despite that, the end design incorporates techniques that were developed by Keyssa. From antenna designs to methods of testing phones during production. Keyssa said it’s been working on its tech since 2009, and signed a non-disclosure agreement blocking Essential from using its feature. Now, it’s taking the matter to a San Francisco federal court.

This definitely hasn’t been a great year for Andy Rubin’s smartphone startup. They were already in hot water with smartphone accessory maker Spigen over its use of the “Essential” name, and shipping delays pushed the phone’s actual debut way behind schedule. For more updates, stay tuned on Gizchina.


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