Quibi Sues to Block Patent-Infringement Suits Over ‘Turnstyle’

(Bloomberg) -- Quibi Holdings LLC says it’s being wrongfully accused of infringing a patent for a key feature of a short-form streaming video service it plans to launch April 6 and asked a judge to block any pending lawsuits.

Closely held Interlude US Inc., which goes by the name Eko, sent a letter to Quibi on Jan. 28 demanding that it “immediately stop the use of its Turnstyle technology,” which determines the orientation of a user’s phone and seamlessly switches content based on the way the phone is held.

Quibi asked for a judicial declaration that it doesn’t infringe the patent, and that it didn’t steal trade secrets, according to a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Los Angeles. Eko said in its letter that some Quibi employees stole unspecified “trade secrets” and “source code” for Eko’s service.

Quibi said the employees in question “are not engineers or computer programmers, do not read source code, and would have had no reason to request or obtain Eko code.” The company says it created the technology independently.

The video startup, which raised almost $2 billion from investors across Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street, will offer movies and shows chopped into roughly seven-minute-long segments. Quibi aims to compete with sites like YouTube and TikTok, giving consumers professionally produced content they can watch on their phones.

The company has raised money from Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia, among others.

The case is Quibi Holdings LLC v. Interlude US Inc., 2:20-cv-2250, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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