Streaming Service Quibi Faces Patent Battle Ahead of Launch

On March 9, soon-to-launch streaming service Quibi filed a complaint against Interlude US, Inc., doing business as Eko, seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not infringe on Eko’s patents. The complaint alleges that Eko made “demonstrably false claims of intellectual property infringement,” in regards to a facet of Quibi’s upcoming mobile app. The case is being held in the California Central District Court before Judge John A. Kronstadt.

Quibi, set to launch April 6, was founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios. The company will offer “a new digital platform for delivering premium entertainment content to users.” Quibi’s streaming service will feature short-length cinema-quality videos designed for mobile devices. To compliment the service, Quibi will employ its Turnstyle technology, which allows a user to cleanly switch a mobile device’s display orientation while a video is playing.

The complaint claims that Eko, a Tel Aviv-based tech company, accused Quibi of “infringing an Eko patent, U.S. Patent No. 10,460,765 (the ‘765 patent). This patent relates to Eko’s systems and methods that enable a video to render differently according to the device or screen on which it is displayed. Two weeks after Quibi’s keynote at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), “Eko’s attorneys sent a demand letter to Quibi, asserting that [its] Turnstyle feature employs the technology claimed and disclosed in [Eko’s] ‘765 patent…The letter demanded that Quibi immediately stop the use of its Turnstyle technology.”

On February 10, 2020, Quibi responded to the demand letter, explaining that their Turnstyle feature does not use any invention claimed in the ‘765 patent and that Quibi’s technology was developed independently, without using any Eko trade secret. Quibi has its own patent pending for the Turnstyle technology: United States Patent No. 10,554,926.

Eko filed suit against Quibi on March 10 in retaliation to their allegations. The complaint claims that Quibi took the concept of its Turnstyle technology from Eko.

As a result of Eko’s allegedly false claims, Quibi seeks a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and an order for Eko to withdraw its Notice of Complaint of infringement to the Apple Store. Eko also seeks an award for damages and a declaration that Quibi misappropriated trade secrets.