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Google The Courts

Google Accused of Racketeering. Lawsuit Claims 'Pattern' Of Trade Secret Thefts (mercurynews.com) 153

schwit1 quotes the Mercury News: In an explosive new allegation, a renowned architect has accused Google of racketeering, saying in a lawsuit the company has a pattern of stealing trade secrets from people it first invites to collaborate. Architect Eli Attia spent 50 years developing what his lawsuit calls "game-changing new technology" for building construction. Google in 2010 struck a deal to work with him on commercializing it as software, and Attia moved with his family from New York to Palo Alto to focus on the initiative, code-named "Project Genie." The project was undertaken in Google's secretive "Google X" unit for experimental "moonshots."

But then Google and its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin "plotted to squeeze Attia out of the project" and pretended to kill it but used Attia's technology to "surreptitiously" spin off Project Genie into a new company, according to the lawsuit... This week, a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court approved the addition of racketeering claims to the lawsuit originally filed in 2014. Attia's legal team uncovered six other incidents in which Google had engaged in a "substantially similar fact pattern of misappropriation of trade secrets" from other people or companies, according to a July 25 legal filing from Attia.

Wired reported yesterday that Project Loon -- also a Google X project -- "is embroiled in a lawsuit with Space Data, a small company accusing Alphabet of patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract following a failed acquisition bid."

The lawyer for the racketeering suit complains Google can deploy a "virtually unlimited budget to fight these things in court."

Google Accused of Racketeering. Lawsuit Claims 'Pattern' Of Trade Secret Thefts

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, 2017 @11:42PM (#55329663)

    This is a company not to be fucking trusted. I'm so done with Google - moved to Bing, Firefox, and any other replacement I can find.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's more services to the Google world than search, though. I used to be a religious user of Google News as my news link aggregator. Google News, where the links are supposedly randomly chosen by a computer program. Well right around the time they fired James Damore they redesigned Google News and made it completely unusable. That combined was enough to piss me off enough to switch over to Bing News which I always assumed was a cheap knockoff but it opened my eyes to something. Bing News presents article

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          Really? Google News intersperses various left and right sources - but presents both. Of course you don't always know you've clicked on a right-wing source until you try to read it and discover it's nonsense.

          One more time. Fox News is not right wing - it's propaganda. They do not attempt to perform actual journalism - only to present a veneer that looks like journalism. And yes, sometimes that veneer actually consists of some facts - as long as they don't get in the way of ideology. Doesn't change the

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      ...not to be fucking trusted. I'm so done with Google - moved to Bing, Firefox, and any other replacement...

      You know you jumped the Satanic Shark when people switch to Microsoft to avoid you.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, 2017 @12:28AM (#55329739)

        As a longtime Linux advocate this is a complete mindfuck for me. It's like getting back together with your skanky ex that cheated on you, but now she's grown up, mature, and dignified looking and you're somehow in a functional relationship. But you still sorta don't trust her even though you found out your other ex, Google, now has AIDS.

        • Google is Huli (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Mod parent up, as funny but basically the right characterization of how feelings get twisted.

          It all started with Eric Schmidt, iPhone thief.

          • Stealing from Apple would be one of the only forgivable things for Google to do.

            When two bullies fight, they both sustain damage, and the only real loss is if they tread on the flowers while doing so.

        • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @07:41AM (#55330551)

          It's like getting back together with your skanky ex that cheated on you, but now she's grown up, mature, and dignified looking and you're somehow in a functional relationship.

          Windows 10 is still sending fuckloads of your data to Microsoft. The skanky ex hasn't grown up or matured. She's had a boob job and you're too distracted by the tits to notice that she's swiping the contents of your wallet.

          • Windows 10 isn't really doing that, unless you have it configured incorrectly. It's no better or worse than the surveillance that Google does, except Google openly surveils topical information about your explicitly to build a profile of you they can use to steal your attention away from what you intend to be doing, while Microsoft mostly monitors for usability and bugcatching purposes (lord knows they need to).

            • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

              They may monitor for bugcatching and usability, but that's not why they monitor. They want the same kind of information the Google has - and they want to use it for the same purposes. And they're willing to stick themselves in between you and Google to grab it. Remember when Bing used to (did it ever stop?) forward your searches to Google and use the results to prop up the relevancy of their own?

              If Google is really stealing people's ideas, that's pretty nasty and they should stop (or be stopped). But th

              • [Microsoft] want the same kind of information the Google has - and they want to use it for the same purposes.

                That doesn't make a lot of sense to me - Google owns Doubleclick, and they make their money almost exclusively from ads. The information they get is extremely important to them - that's what they sell to their clients. Google is essentially an advertising company, and all their offerings are tailored to collect more information on you - who are Google's product, not Google's customer.

                Microsoft has very different sources of income. For Microsoft you are the customer. They make their money from selling actual

                • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

                  Microsoft may have different sources of income - but they also tend to see where other people are making money and, if there's software involved, jump on the bandwagon and go after it themselves. In the case of search, Microsoft may simply want to deny Google their income (i.e. "choke off their air supply" as a notorious MS memo said of Netscape back when), in order to prevent them from threatening MS in other areas. I suppose they could continue to develop and support Bing for that reason alone - though

    • https://www.wired.com/story/th... [wired.com]

      story links to an article about Loon in puerto rico not to the Space Data Lawsuit.

      "Space Data pulled off something big: It convinced the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel most of one of Project Loon’s foundational patents, and say that Space Data came up with the idea first. Loon’s patent for changing a balloon’s direction by adjusting its altitude—a core feature of both systems—is now legally back in Space Data’s hands."

      • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

        ?? Isn't that something hot air balloons have done for a century?

        • ?? Isn't that something hot air balloons have done for a century?

          Yeah. I'm gonna have to assume theres more to the patent than just that. Because a patent on that would be absurd.

          • by lucm ( 889690 )

            The article is worth a read.

            At a TED talk in 2014, Google’s then-CEO Larry Page said: “We did some weather simulations which probably hadn't really been done before, and if you control the altitude of the balloons, which you can do by pumping air into them and other ways, you can actually control roughly where they go.”

            Both men were describing the engineering feat that Space Data had sought to patent more than a decade earlier. Filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show that in 2000, Space Data began experimenting with a nationwide paging service from high-altitude balloons. Space Data filed its key patent application in 2001, and quickly went on to test text messages in 2002, phone calls in 2006, and 4G LTE data by 2012—a year before Google’s splashy launch.

            What a bunch of common thieves and hypocrites

          • Yeah. I'm gonna have to assume theres more to the patent than just that. Because a patent on that would be absurd.

            Patents are actually very hard for laypeople to understand. Unless you are a patent attorney, or have read a lot of patents, it is often very difficult to figure out exactly what innovations are covered. 99% of news articles about patents badly mangle the facts, usually by reporting the patent to be far broader than the actual claims.

            • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

              Sometimes. And sometimes they're (yes) very specifically described versions of an obvious idea. But Google really must be losing the support of the Slashdot crowd if they're now presumed evil for infringing patents - without Slashdotters assuming from the outset that those patents must be invalid patents on obvious stuff...

      • "Space Data pulled off something big: It convinced the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel most of one of Project Loon’s foundational patents, and say that Space Data came up with the idea first.

        Most likely they did that by providing compelling evidence that their claim to prior art is true. That is the only way to invalidate an existing patent.

        • It's much easier for big companies with huge budgets to engage in speculative activities like prior art searches.

          In the spirit of anti-patent that prevails within a sizeable number of people here on Slashdot, we could cheer them on, except the same prior-art cancellations don't commonly happen to Google's patents.

          For better or for worse, the legal system is largely 'owned' by the entities that can afford the lawyers.

          • Prior art searches are not a big deal, particularly if you limit yourself to searching existing patents. It often takes about a day to find if someone has already done what you're trying to do, and that frequently helps you avoid dead-ends in your own design and gives you clues on how to design without infringing the existing patent.
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @02:02AM (#55329889) Journal

      This is a company not to be fucking trusted. I'm so done with Google - moved to Bing, Firefox, and any other replacement I can find.

      Your first mistake was ever trusting anyone with the last name, "Inc."

      Don't believe - not for a minute - that there is any corporation on earth that can be trusted. Late-stage capitalism requires evilness. It's simply part of their equation and should be part of yours.

      • by RevDisk ( 740008 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @02:29AM (#55329939) Journal
        While I don't disagree with any of your comments, any time someone uses the term "late-stage capitalism"... Every origin story of the term I'm familiar with has roots in Marxism. Mostly I've seen it used by people angry at modern economics, but zero practical suggestions on how to correct it. Marxism as a fashion fad kind of thing, like wearing Che shirts that they bought with a credit card from a chain store, I suppose.

        I'm far from a knee-jerk reactionary capitalist, but those guys didn't come up with a better solution. Private property and some form of capitalism has always existed whenever not outlawed by whoever was in power. While our modern economic situation has absolutely tons of problems, systemic ones at that, I've so far never heard of a remotely realistic large scale alternative.
        • While our modern economic situation has absolutely tons of problems, systemic ones at that, I've so far never heard of a remotely realistic large scale alternative.

          You don't need megacorporations to accomplish large projects. Co-ops of co-ops are capable of doing the same things.

        • by hord ( 5016115 )

          Personally I think a big part is property distribution. Proudhon was very skeptical of limitless property rights and the ability to gate everything up. The Greeks had this same issue as I understand it. They had a system of perpetually slicing up land for heirs that eventually failed due to inefficiency.

          To sustain life one must either go into nature and pluck from it or work the land until such a time can be made. Either action requires the land to do so. In today's world no one is capable of just goin

        • by mjm1231 ( 751545 )

          And myriad used to mean exactly 10,000. The origin may be interesting, but it isn't necessarily relevant.
          Also, just because you haven't thought of a solution doesn't mean the problem is acceptable. There's no cure for cancer yet either.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          Nobody ever said Marx didn't correctly identify the problem - only that his solutions sucked. That's no reason to pretend that "late-stage capitalism" isn't full of problems - and that the US can't function as a free society while still reigning it in.

          • OK, I'm saying Marx didn't correctly identify the problem. You can never truthfully make your claim again.
        • by dristoph ( 1207920 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @01:02PM (#55331579)

          "Private property and some form of capitalism has always existed whenever not outlawed by whoever was in power."

          Uhh, big fat "citation needed" there. At the very least, you must acknowledge that *ubiquitous* private property is extremely young in terms of the span of human existence. For example, "enclosure", the practice of using state coercion to covert formerly communal agricultural land into private plots for private exploitation began in England and other parts of Europe only as recently as the 16th century. These policies were combined with new laws against vagrancy, essentially forcing the previous inhabitants into towns where they had no choice but to take up a wage job and become a tenant under a landlord to survive.

          Furthermore, the vast majority of human history, talking hundreds of thousands of years, is one of nomads and hunter-gatherer communities which lived without private property.

          You've made a bare assertion here, and it turns out it's completely untethered from history.

          • "Private property and some form of capitalism has always existed whenever not outlawed by whoever was in power."

            Uhh, big fat "citation needed" there.

            ...

            Furthermore, the vast majority of human history, talking hundreds of thousands of years, is one of nomads and hunter-gatherer communities which lived without private property.

            You've made a bare assertion here, and it turns out it's completely untethered from history.

            I notice a distinct lack of citations backing up your own assertions.

        • Accidentally modded this. Replying to remove moderation.
      • This has more to do with greed and the quest for absolute power than it does with capitalism. Capitalism should not be conflated with evil, however it can be used as a tool when abused as with all tools. Remember always that it never has been the tool that is evil as they are usually inanimate object or concepts. It should always be remembered that it is the PERSON(S) who uses it for detriment that is the evil part.
    • Google can't be trusted so you moved to Microsoft. ... Are you high?

      • by ChatHuant ( 801522 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @04:26PM (#55332299)

        Google can't be trusted so you moved to Microsoft. ... Are you high?

        There is a significant difference though. Microsoft wants to sell you stuff. You may not like the stuff they sell, but once they get your money the deal is done and finished. You can choose not to buy what they sell, and at this point you have no relationship with them - nothing to do with them or their products.

        Google however doesn't want to sell you stuff. They want to sell YOU. You, your life, your very existence is what Google wants. Google's never-sleeping eye is on you all the time. They stalk you, on the web and outside it, whether you use any of their products or not. On the web, they'll follow you around, read your mail - if you're foolish enough to have a gmail account, log all your DNS queries if you're foolish enough to use their DNS servers. In real life, they'll log all the places you ever go, if you have an Android phone with location services. They'll get all your credit card transactions, without any way for you to stop it, or even be notified when they do. And now, they're even putting spies (sorry, "personal assistants") in your home to eavesdrop on anything anybody says. And there is no easy way to avoid them. Even if you don't use GMail, Google search or maps, lots and lots of non-Google web sites are happy to snitch on you - for example, Slashdot calls both gstatic and google-analytics.

        If you don't trust Microsoft, you can live a Microsoft-free life. But, even if you don't trust Google, you have no way to avoid their collecting of YOUR data. You won't even know how your data ends up in their files. They don't particularly need your trust for that. This, in my opinion is an order of magnitude more evil than anything Microsoft has ever done.

        • They want to sell YOU.

          No they don't. They want to sell ACCESS to you. There's a big difference. Google are about the people I most trust with my information as they are the least likely to give it away to someone else.

          Microsoft on the other hand don't have a business model that depends on owning your data. When ownership of your data is a secondary profit for the company they are much more likely to just sell it wholesale.

          If you don't trust Microsoft, you can live a Microsoft-free life.

          Oh now I KNOW your are high.

    • search -> duckduckgo; web -> Brave, firefox has an initiative tu filter out content
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday October 07, 2017 @11:47PM (#55329677) Journal

    Well-known companies can be pushy dicks. I once contracted at a small-ish office equipment distributor, and it had an account with an entertainment conglomerate that starts with a "D". Big D would always request special conditions and special reports and wanted them ASAP. They were kept on because they served as bragging rights for the smaller company to bring in more business. "You know we are good because we have an account with D!" But after a while their dickativity exceeded their marketing value, and the distributor parted ways with them.

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      They are infamous. If you do only a simple duckduckgo search, you will quickly find a dozen stories from the Entertainment industry about how "D" screwed people over.

      Only the other day, I saw this: https://youtu.be/_pd6yO-jBRo [youtu.be]
      Quentin Tarantino's 70mm "The Hateful Eight" had been pushed out from the 70mm "Cinerama Dome" theatre because The Mouse wanted to show Star Wars there a couple weeks longer.

      • Theaters often hold over popular movies if they think it will sell better than the replacement. It isn't necessarily the studio's choice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, 2017 @11:49PM (#55329679)

    Everyone in the position of pitching paradigm-shifting inventions to tech giants should read this book [amazon.com], written by the founder of a company with a pen-based mobile device in the early '90s. John Sculley got wind of it because Kaplan tried to hire away a top Apple engineer, and told him too much; the result was Apple's "innovative" Newton product. Gates learned about it because Kaplan was hoping to partner with MS; Gates and his lieutenant Jeff Raikes spent a full day at Go going over every single gesture, then returned to Redmond where they proceeded to knock it off as Pen Windows. Kaplan also dishes on his eventual business partners IBM and AT&T.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Make a deal with the devil....

  • That is, they always speak of what the CEO wishes was true, rather than what is already true.

    So Google really truly honestly wishes it were not evil.

    But not enough to actually take action.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I doubt a company gives one fuck about whether it's motto was true or not, so long as it helps bring in money.

  • Shady business deals? What's new?
    Racketeering? That's a stretch.
    He may have been screwed. Maybe not. This is a case of contract law, not organized crime.
    The judge will laugh him out of court.
    The police, or at least the DA have to be involved to file a racketeering charge. Not going to happen.

    why is this news?
    • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @01:36AM (#55329857) Homepage Journal

      The judge will laugh him out of court.

      The judge has already approved adding the racketeering charge to the suit. Not sure of the rules under California's RICO, but it's probably similar to federal rules. That means that the plaintiff has shown some pretty compelling evidence, and it becomes very difficult to stop it from proceeding to trial, once it's been certified.

      The police, or at least the DA have to be involved to file a racketeering charge. Not going to happen.

      Patently untrue. Both federal and California RICO statutes allow for private enforcement. A prosecutor would be necessary for criminal prosecution, but state RICO laws allow for treble damages in civil cases, which could easily run into the billions. It's difficult to do, but the judge has already been convinced to allow it.

      why is this news?

      Why do you comment on something you clearly know nothing about?

      • Why do you comment on something you clearly know nothing about?

        Your /. id number indicates that you have been here for a long time. Were it not for this, i would be asking "are you new here?"

      • This case has not gone to trial.
        These are only pre-trial motions.
        The judge you've sited is not the trial judge.
        This case will probably never go to trial. All of this is just posturing!
  • Amazing (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How did you find this article? I tried googling for it and it didn't show up.

  • Don't get caught being evil.

  • Wasn't Microsoft accused of this a lot?

    Partner with someone, take their ideas in house, cut them off as a partner and then build / sell it themselves?

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday October 08, 2017 @03:30AM (#55330037) Homepage
    today, i wanted to watch a PBS TV show i missed, so i went to YouTube to see if it was there. there were tons of hour long videos with that title and episode (Finding Your Roots, season 4 episode 1) but were replaced with a link due to a copyright claim. but this link went to a scam site trying to get your credit card number, despite claims that it was free, and not to PBS. apparently Google will take a copyright claim from anyone, including scammers.
    • You're overthinking it. Those videos are pending to be copyright claims. They are just scams. Anyone can upload one like it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Assumption of the fool: Google does not read my emails, all my G Docs and G Drive documents with my business ideas and my customer secrets are in safe hands, and Google will never use their search tools on my data to spot and notify their patent, marketing and legal departments on competitive information found.

  • I do not understand why Google did not chose to bu the partners they wanted to steal ideas from. They have the money, and it would spare them bad PR.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

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