Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Google accused of poaching Internet balloon technology

New Jersey residents who follow the technology sector may be aware that Google is behind a project developing technology that scientists and engineers hope will be capable of beaming Internet service to consumers in remote areas using a network of high-altitude balloons. The search engine giant's hopes may have been dashed on June 13 when Space Data Corporation filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court claiming that it developed the technology behind Google's Project Loon more than 10 years ago.

The Arizona-based communications systems developer claims in its lawsuit that Google has failed to honor commitments made when the two companies entered into a non-disclosure and mutual confidentiality agreement in 2007. Space Data also accuses Alphabet, which is Google's parent company, of infringing on two of its patents dealing with balloon deployment and recovery.

While Alphabet declined to comment on the litigation, the lawsuit will likely be taken seriously in its Mountain View headquarters. Space Data is a leading developer of wireless communications systems licensed by the FCC and boasting contracts with both the military and leading cellular service providers. The company claims that Google executives decided to use the proprietary information and technology in dispute after a 2008 visit to Space Data that included a facility tour and a series of meetings and demonstrations.

Attorneys may point out that intellectual property litigation is often complex, and lawsuits over patent infringement and the theft of trade secrets can sometimes drag on for months or years. However, they may also understand that there is often a lot at stake in these cases, and they may take the case to court when negotiations fail to reach a settlement.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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