He did more than "inspired by"
Are you making this up?
I don't see any patent claim being mentioned in the article.
"Patent trolling" as in extorting someone who successfully implemented some idea just because I have some claim to comming up with vaguely similar idea first.
Regardless of the merits of the lawsuit, I can see why Magic Leap would be scared. The AR glasses looks great. They're certainly stylish enough for the mass-market -- they look like normal glasses at first glance, they're quite reasonably priced (at $500), and run from a regular Android phones via USB-C (for power, as well as sensor and video data).
For reference, here's the Tested review for current Magic Leap product, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrq2akzdFq8. It retails for $2295. Though it comes with controllers, eye-tracking for focal accommodation, two waveguides displays that are used to provide two separate physical layers to focus on.
If Nreal Light is indeed based on Magic Leap's unreleased designs, this makes me very sympathetic to the price difference -- Magic Leap One is a development kit backed by 5+ years of huge R&D investment, and is/was never intended for end-users (hence the price and awful aesthetics).
The Nreal Light is an indication of what a consumer Magic Leap was going to be: a cheaper, slimmer, less ambitious product (by avoiding multiple waveguide displays) that appeals to a consumer market, then it's unfair and sad that they didn't have the opportunity to go to market with their own product.
On the other hand, Magic Leap has had ample opportunity to release an affordable high-quality AR headset so I do feel some sympathy in an employee leveraging legitimately acquired knowledge and experience to build a commercial product that beats its competitors. The situation may not that different to the Traitorous Eight, or Steve Jobs infamous "adapting" of design ideas of the Alto for the Apple Lisa and Apple Macintosh, after his visit to Xerox PARC.
>The startup alleges that Xu plotted during his roughly 13 months working there to launch his own competing company in China and “neglected his work duties” to acquire proprietary information.
While these are valid allegations to make, I'm not sure what IP "theft" has occurred. It sounds like Magic Leap is accusing Chi of looking at Magic Leap's designs and having the intention of launching a product in the same market and with roughly the same form factor - but crucially, does not allege that Chi exfiltrated any CI/trade secrets or infringed on any IP.
The second set of accusations is also kafkaesque, by the way, as they are accusing Chi of having the intent to launch a competing company by himself - something that many, many tech employees have dreamed of (and done) without ever being sued. I'm not sure what that allegation is there for, honestly.
Their complaint alleges exactly that, repeatedly.
The next stage of the litigation process, discovery, is for determining the specific IP pilfered (if any).
"in reality, the Nreal Light incorporates and derives from the Confidential Designs and other Magic Leap Confidential Information protected by the PIIA."
Which says more about the situation.
Also, I wonder if people would think differently if this case is about a Facebook employee left to work on a social media App like google+.
Wow. That number sounded high since I'm very unfamiliar with the space but according to crunchbase  they took in 2.6B in funding overall. Before this headset they mainly put out a few iterations of that gesture input device, right?
Leap Motion (which did the gesture recognition input stuff) was recently sold at about a 10th of their peak valuation ($30M price from $300M valuation about 2 years ago).
I declined the position based on the fact that their options were already diluted without a product or revenue stream.
Maybe one day I will regret that decision when they get bought by Apple, but I just don't see it happening.
1) Using the same proprietary font in their logo was a really dumb idea:
2) Alleges he engaged in internal meetings "outside the scope of his work at Magic Leap" in order to gain useful information, while simultaneously neglecting his duties at work as he planned to start his own company in China. Before launching a product that looks and functions very similar to the Magic Leap product within a 2yr timespan (quitting in mid-2016, started in 2017, launched in 2019) while Magic Leap has been at it since 2010.
3) Their primary evidence seems to be some useless "Private Information" confidentiality form we all sign
4) The other is some Youtube interview the Nreal founder did where he openly admitted to being inspired by his work at Magic Leap:
Where he basically said that Magic Leap was being too ambitious with an "impossible" goal of trying to put it all in one small device... and he wanted to utilize Chinese manufacturing pipelines to build the same thing but much simpler by utilizing existing smartphone and laptop tech.
5) Finally another section compared demos by both companies, both involving whales:
Magic Leap's whale demos:
Nreal's twitter picture demo:
That's about it. Points 2) and 3) get repeated ad-nauseam and not very convincingly IMO.
> The resulting product, as demonstrated at CES and on publicly available videos, bears a striking similarity to the Confidential Designs that Magic Leap had under development before and during the time that Mr. Xu worked at Magic Leap, but which were not ultimately commercialized or publicly released.
It’s not the same font. Similar but not the same. Look at letter L and A. They are different
Only the "Nreal" part is using the font FYI and only 3 letters directly overlap (e, a, l).
Magic Leaps offers a similar font LominoUI on their site but it isn't entirely the same as the logo font:
I'm very pro-theft in design as a learning and inspiration tool but it's extremely stupid when you both copy the logo font while also doing similar IP, when the cofounder worked there previously. It makes it look like they were baiting Magic Leap to complain. Even if the initial complaint is overall quite weak and the whole thing is probably futile.
A font would be covered under copyright so....I mean....legally, they do have to be exact copies, yes. And this one is not, so the entire discussion of the font seem legally irrelevant.
This stuff matters in personal legacy, industry/media respect, and ultimately branding too. Unless they were purposefully going for the Chinese knock-off look.
In order to get to the next stage of litigation, it needs to allege just enough facts to make a "prima facie" showing (i.e., that it establishes at least some evidence of each claim).
If it makes that hurdle, the case proceeds to discovery, which is where both sides turn over documents, depose witnesses, etc., to determine the actual IP stolen (if any).
TLDR: it doesn't matter if the complaint is convincing. It's just the first step.
My heart sinks every time I hear a story of copycats profiting off of the work of someone or some company that sank tons of hours and dollars into developing a unique product - going up down left right backwards forwards upside down right side up headfirst ass backwards - just to find a solution, and then to have all that effort once you’ve found the answer, be pulled from right under your feet because someone can do it better now that the answer has been discovered (because you put the hours to discover it). That’s just ducking awful. I remember seeing [this](https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2...) about a simple product and it made me so furious. The reality is it’s happening everywhere.
China and Chinese culture of designer knockoffs and blatant copycatting needs to start playing fair and follow the same laws as everyone else if they expect to deal respectably in international markets.
I’m wondering if with things like even the font being the same, wether or not the act of copycatting even registers as an offense to the people who do this.
And to make it clear my stance isn’t against Chinese people, some of my favorite people in this world are Chinese, it’s against a government that condones and does little, or turns a blind eye when a company is doing the equivalent of removing padding from a boxing glove. If we can’t resolve something like this through verbal communication and legal action what other options do we have?
Business practice/promise aside, Theranos had the ability to negatively influence a person’s health. Magic Leap can only under deliver.
I doubt they’ve been faking anything to investors like Theranos.
I have no real opinion on the allegations, and if true they are serious but...
...I find it a bit hilarious that Magic Leap, a company that has been widely criticised for over promising, under delivering, having extremely basic tech which is itself quite close to the tech of competitors, and which is well known for spending an eye watering amount of money and time in order to obtain very little results would offer this as a supporting argument.
Just because Magic Leap spent two billion and 7 years doesn't mean a competent engineering team couldn't do it a lot faster with a lot less money. :) (Especially with entirely legitimate access to Magic Leaps hardware, and with the benefit of years more published research across the industry.) I hope Magic Leap has some better arguments than they managed to get published in Bloomberg, because what's in the article is just hand wavy nonsense.
(* Magic Leap funding $2B+, nreal $16M ish)
So "Nreal copied Magic Leap's product after Magic Leap sank billion into R&D" is an entirely plausible explanation for the comparable results despite the dramatic gap in funding.
AR/smartglasses is not a market where you will have “generics” any time soon. You’re going to have the iPhone of smartglasses which will dominate, and then everyone else will try and fail to copy. Like Facebook dominating social, then google+ failing. Or iPhone vs Android, although Android did finally manage to achieve market share thanks to googles muscle.
Tl;dr: successful startups don’t raise billions of dollars before shipping a product as mediocre as ML’s v1.
I have a feeling its going to be very difficult to cage this kind of innovation unless there is a recurrent policy in place to periodically ban the import of a wide range of Chinese products.
On the other hand there are lots of super smart Chinese students in top tier colleges who also make salient contribution to research work that benefits us in one way or the other.
The bigger question is how do we resolve both markets to mutually benefit from sunken R&D as opposed to how we starve consumers because of slow paced tinkering refinements when the other party can speed the product to market.
Case in point: Lit Motors
Are we patenting Whales in demos now? This is exactly the kind of myopia ML continues to have - thinking they were the first ones to use a whales in a VR/AR demo. I guess Intel was ripping off ML with Leviathan demo in 2014  and theBlu was ripping off ML with their Vive demo in 2015 .
Perhaps the easy availability of royalty free 3d models is relevant (https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-models/animals/fish/humpback-wha...)? Perhaps Oculus Rift museum humpback whale VR back in 2015 was an inspiration?
In any sane, non Sinophobic climate, this would be laughed out of the room
Is idea copying a thing? I don't really know...
Having been the subject of market research, product plan and intellectual property theft in the past (no, not by the Chinese) and having that information used to launch a competing business I think I have perspective to offer on this.
There is HUGE difference between "R&D" and just "D". "R&D" is slow, costly and full of risk. "D" simply requires execution. Borrowing from sports talk, you know "where the puck is going" and you can aim in that direction. You don't have to invent much and you actually have the luxury of improving upon what you know is and will be the technology of the "R&D" shop from which you stole.
One of the mantras of YC startups goes something like "if you are not embarrassed by your first product...". This is usually true for hardware as well. And, in most instances, you actually know very well what you'd like to build next. However, hardware isn't a simple matter of a weekend pivot. You just don't have that freedom. Not even close. So you have to go with what you have, get it to market, make some money with it and look at introducing your "next generation" product a year later. You can't do hardware spins in a couple of months. The greater the volume the more you are shackled to whatever you are shipping and it can easily be a year or more before you can put out a significantly updated version 2.
I've seen comments about optics being sub-par and more. Well, that's the kind of thing that can happen when you are doing "R&D" and you have to put out a product. It could be embarrassing, but that's what you brought to the party and that's what has to ship.
The thief, on the other hand, knows what you are shipping, what's ugly about it, your future plans, market intelligence and much, much more. Upon gaining this information all they have to do is align it with funding and execute on your version 2 or 3 way before you do. While you are busy building a company the thief can surface out of seemingly nowhere with a product that your first product can't compete with.
This is PRECISELY what happened to me nearly twenty years ago. Our resellers, from the US, Europe, Asia and other areas started to call me out of nowhere to ask if we had licensed our products to company X. One of them made an interesting comment, he said: "Martin, the material they sent me sounds and reads exactly like what we've been talking about for more than a year" (under NDA, of course).
Company X came into the market and put our product --which was going to be replaced in about six months-- to shame. And they did it with MY product plan, MY specification, MY design, MY market intelligence. The net effect was that, ironically, when we came out with our product WE looked like we copied from them. Which was the proverbial addition of "insult to injury".
Anyhow, not defending anyone. I don't know enough. Just wanted to react to some of the comments that point out the thief's product is better than the original. Well, yeah. It would be.
When a Chinese product so obviously mimics an American product--especially when the chief engineer used to work for the American company--it's on the Chinese company to prove that no IP theft occurred. They've lost the benefit of the doubt.
As Zoom is definitely within the scope of a valid CA non-compete, if it violated any WebEx IP of wouldn't currently be a publicly treated company.
Lack of respect for IP is also very ingrained in Chinese culture. It's not a new revelation. Whenever the subject comes up with my relatives on the mainland, they reply with, "Is anyone surprised? Why risk wasting time and money, when someone else has already done it for you? Why pay more when you can get it for less?" When I bring up ethical concerns, I get patronizing comments like, "You just don't understand, you are too American now."
If there's any place in the world where actors are rational according to economic theory, it's mainland China.
especially when the chief engineer used to work for the American company
I think this certainly shifts the burden of proof to Nreal to prove they did not steal Magic Leap's technology after releasing a very similar product
Magic Leap, as with any accuser, faces the burden of proof, full stop. And offhand that looks like a pretty high barrier, given that the Nreal product is so different than Magic Leap's.
Look what happened to the Japenese bullet train, the Samsung foldable displays, Huawei, etc. etc.
You also don’t have to be against due process to have disdain for existing IP laws. They make things incredibly expensive for people to use to protect themselves, and have spawned an entire industry around their abuse.
You still like patterns?
I like patterns, do you have some?
> China artificially props up the US economy via bonds/debt/investment
I don't believe you can support that claim. The US economy is far larger than the Chinese economy and far wealthier. The US consumer is far wealthier and far larger than the Chinese consumer. That also includes the US equity markets being far larger and the US bond markets being far larger. Further, US manufacturing is also not dramatically smaller than China's manufacturing sector and their manufacturing has already peaked.
China's holdings of US treasuries and US debt in general is entirely trivial. It's so small now the Fed could wipe it out with a modest round of QE and the dollar would hardly notice (especially since the dollar is very strong right now). It becomes more trivial by the day as China's holdings have been stagnant for many years, the US economy continues to grow larger in real terms, and the US Government's debt continues to expand (reducing China's relative share; their relative share has plunged over the past decade).
Since late 2009 / early 2010, China's US treasury holdings have not net expanded. In inflation adjusted terms, they've contracted considerably (by at least 20-25%). In that time the US economy has added an economy the size of Germany + France (about ~$7 trillion non-adjusted).
China is less critical to the US today, than at any other time in the past decade. That is especially true given their imports of US goods are not very considerable and have not expanded in about eight years (a time during which the US added ~$5.x to $6 trillion to its GDP, even further reducing China's real import contribution value to the US economy).
The politicians in DC obviously love the idea of debasing their sole superpower status and their global power that goes with it. They like that notion so much, they've never been known to launch wars on the other side of the planet, commit coups, abuse sanctions, abuse their global intelligence / espionage position, or use any other such tactics in the post WW2 era to continue that position of power. So they'll just hand it over to China on a silver platter through vast, intentional IP transfer. More likely, there is a combination of political superpower naivety (persistently overestimating their ability to control China over the past two decades) and incompetence at work.
Just a reminder that they’ve blown all their credibility.
The speaker managed to reproduce the exact single-chip hardware implant attack suggested in the Oct 2018 Bloomberg Businessweek story  , which claimed Amazon and Apple found malicious hardware implants in Supermicro motherboards while conducting detailed inspections.
While Bloomberg has never retracted the story, there's an argument that the sources have vested interests in lying to Bloomberg suggesting that attacks developed in lab-conditions actually occurred in the real-world, in order to raise awareness of supply-chain risks (something the current US administration has been attempting to do for some time). There's also a suggestion that the journalist was acting in good-faith but mixed up a few different attacks, with the sources reluctant to clarify things. Another suggestion is that the attack did happen, and Amazon and Apple were forced to issue denials.
It's a very fascinating story. Maybe I'm naive, but if Bloomberg was in-fact wrong, they would issue a correction or a retraction. The fact they haven't retracted it suggests to me that there's truth to the story.
"The lawsuit marks the latest accusation from an American firm of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies, a perennial sore point that’s helped escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies."
Seems pretty fair to me. You'd be hard pressed to say that that's inaccurate or misleading.
But I totally agree. I recently had the opportunity to try to develop (with a team) something for the Magic Leap One over a period of about 3 months, and it was an awful experience, a complete and utter disappointment.
Here are just some of the issues we faced:
- terrible overheating: we offloaded most functionality (basically everything in our app but image tracking) to a remote server and both the headset and the lightpack would still overheat to the point of being very hot to the touch within 5-10 minutes
- image tracking in general pretty much doesn't work: the effective range is like 2 feet, and even then it's laggy and inaccurate. And forget about trying to use your own images.
- controller drift: the tracking for the controller literally just starts floating away. We had attached something to the controller and during demos people would say, "woah it's just floating away" and look up as the virtual controller slowly faded into the distance
- unexplainable throttling: once it starts overheating, things like image tracking just stop working, apps freeze or shut down, etc.
- dizziness: everyone who tried it started feeling eye strain within minutes of wearing it
- awful field of view: to put it simply, if you look at someone eye-to-eye, the field of view cannot even show things right above their head
- clunky design: the lightpack is heavy and constantly getting in the way, and the cables attaching it to the headset are very stiff
- Lumin OS: sucks
- controller trackpad: the least functional trackpad I've used in my life. The circular scrolling is incredibly hard to use; our team just dropped the entire scrolling feature for demos because not a single person we trialed with was able to get it to work. Theoretically, it's just a circular motion with your thumb to scroll. In practice, after 3 months of experience using the device I was still unable scroll consistently.
- dim screen: like wearing dark sunglasses
- heavy headset / awkward weight distribution: it feels uncomfortably heavy on your eyes & nose area
And there are many more issues that make it feel more like a prototype made by a couple people in a garage than the flagship consumer product of a company with $2.6b in funding. Really makes me think the whole thing was a big scam, like a slightly less completely-made-up version of Theranos.
Just saying, there is definitely some rationale to it, esp when considering how investment portfolios are precipitated on a few huge winners and 99% losers.
In the case of Magic Leap, VCs bought into the team’s background and expertise and banked on the likelihood of their success/impact if successful and decided to risk it. It doesn’t mean they were 100% sold- just that the risk/reward calculation they made was favourable.
Had they waited for Magic Leap to be a ways farther in their tech, (and had Magic Leap delivered), the price of entry to invest would be astronomical and the opportunity would have been ‘missed out’ on.
Why was a biomedical engineering guy (with absolutely no background in AR/VR/graphics/CS/...) being given a billion dollar to do something that is not up his ally at all?
What are we missing here? Which Team? I never understood this story.