Google Accused of Stealing 'Project Loon' Balloon Idea

...

Three years ago, Google announced plans to provide Internet access to underserved areas of the world via high-flying balloons.

Now, Space Data Corporation claims Project Loon is based, at least in part, on its own technology.

The company offers two products—SkySat and SkySite—each of which rely on a balloon-based telecommunication system to beam wireless services across the nation. A collection of up to 70 balloons can provide wireless coverage for voice and data services in the continental US.

Similarly, Loon launched in June 2013 with the intention of reaching those far corners of the globe—jungles, archipelagos, mountains—where it is difficult and costly to build Internet infrastructure.

But was the program a stroke of genius by Google or a borrowed idea? In a complaint filed Monday in Northern California District Court, Space Data claimed Google infringes on two patents: one for an "airborne constellation of communications platforms and method" (filed in 1999), another covering "unmanned lighter-than-air safe termination and recovery methods" (filed in 2001).

"Project Loon improperly and unlawfully utilizes Space Data's confidential information and trade secrets which Space Data disclosed to Google" nearly 10 years ago, the filing said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Space Data in early 2008; at the time, the company was launching 10 balloons a day in the US to provide telecom services to truckers and oil companies. The program caught the eye of Google—which was already moving into wireless services and considered contracting with Space Data, or even buying the firm, the Journal said. Neither opportunity came to pass. But a few years later, Project Loon was born.

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

As The Verge points out, this is not the first time X—Google's moonshot division—has been accused of trade secret theft. In 2014, architect Eli Attia sued over a venture he claimed was based on his Engineered Architecture system.

Categories
GAMES
0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


RELATED BY

  • 5300c769af79e

    Live Chat: Google's Pixel Event!

    The “Made by Google” event is finally here and we are in San Francisco to cover it!Leaks all point to the unveiling of two phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google Home, Google WiFi, Chromecast Ultra, and Google’s Daydream VR headset.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Comcast Teases Wireless Phone Service

    The country's largest cable operator will reportedly provide a hybrid cellular-and-Wi-Fi service, using a combination of Verizon's network and millions of its own wireless hotspots, Bloomberg reports.buy some sort of multi-package bundle from us," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said during this week's Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York, according to a transcript.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Order $400 'Soft Gold' OnePlus 3 Now

    The wait is over: US consumers can now order the OnePlus 3 "Soft Gold" smartphone for $399.But this isn't your typical gaudy gold smartphone, OnePlus assures buyers.
  • 5300c769af79e

    #TBT: Happy Holidays From the Android Team

    A few years ago in 2012, the Android team sent out its holiday greetings in the form of a stop animation video featuring a few Android mini collectibles.It’s cute and completely creepy all at the same time.