This summer, people got really frothy about the super-hyped Essential Phone from Android co-creator Andy Rubin. Then, Essential screwed up one thing after another, tainting the phone’s reputation as the company seemingly couldn’t get its shit together. And now, Essential is being sued.
Keyssa, a wireless technology company backed by iPod creator and Nest founder Tony Fadell, filed a lawsuit against Essential on Monday, alleging that the company stole trade secrets and breached their nondisclosure agreement. Keyssa is known for its proprietary tech that reportedly lets users transfer large files in seconds by holding two devices side by side.
According to the lawsuit, Keyssa and Essential engaged in conversations in which the wireless tech company “divulged to Essential proprietary technology enabling every facet of Keyssa’s wireless connectivity,” all of which was protected under a non-disclosure agreement. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Keyssa “deployed a team 20 of its top engineers and scientists” to educate Essential on its proprietary tech, sending them “many thousands of confidential emails, hundreds of confidential technical documents, and dozens of confidential presentations.”
Essential ended this relationship after over 10 months and later told Keyssa that its engineers would use a competing chip in the Essential Phone. But Keyssa is accusing Essential of including techniques in its phone that were gleaned from their relationship, despite their confidentiality agreement.
Central to this lawsuit is one of the Essential Phone’s key selling points: the option to swap in modular add-ons, made possible thanks to the phone’s unique cordless connector. In short, if Keyssa’s claims hold water, then one of the phone’s defining factors is a product of theft.
We have reached out to Essential and Keyssa, Inc for comment and we’ll update this story if they respond.
This lawsuit follows on the heels of a litany of mishaps for Rubin’s much-hyped new venture. The company had some serious shipping issues and made its consumers vulnerable to a possible phishing attack. And when frustrated consumers finally get their hands on the phone, they may find themselves sorely disappointed by its disappointing camera.