Magic Leap brings a complaint against the Chinese startup nreal. Its founder, Chi Xu, would have enjoyed a brief stint in the company to steal technology and design from the augmented reality headset Magic Leap One and create his own product…
Magic Leap, well known for its ML1 augmented reality headset, was one of the first to hit the market in 2018 after years of secret technology development. However, at the CES in January 2019, a Chinese startup called nreal caused a sensation by unveiling its own AR nReal Light glasses.
Today, Magic Leap is filing a lawsuit against nreal and its founder, Chi Xu. According to the American firm, Chi Xu worked at home as a software engineer between July 2015 and August 2016. At the time, he allegedly signed a PIIA-type confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from disclosing or using information about proprietary technologies of his employer.
However, the software engineer would then have left the firm to found nreal with the help of contacts in China. He would then have disclosed and used all he knew about the technologies of the American firm to develop a similar product.
Magic Leap claims that the nreal Light looks like a ML1 prototype
The Chinese start-up would be based in particular Magic Leap’s confidential design information to make decisions on design and production and to lead the development of its own device of mixed reality.
Thus, according to the American company, the headset unveiled by nreal at the CES looks like the prototype of the ML1 in development when Chi Xu was working there. As the complaint points out, even the font used for the logo of nreal is similar to that chosen by ML.
So, while it took Magic Leap several years, hundreds of millions of dollars and a few hundred engineers to create the ML1, nreal needed only two years. If the accusations of plagiarism are proven, we can understand that the American is angry at this unfair competition…