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Quibi Cribbed Turnstyle? Court Says Plaintiffs Have Enough Circumstantial Evidence

Quibi app
(Image credit: Quibi)

Quibi’s nameplate has been removed from its building, and all of its shows have been sold to Roku, after the mobile service weakly succumbed to market forces just six months following launch. But the startup’s legal battle with Israeli tech company Eko over its core feature, “Turnstyle,” is still being fought in court.

And Quibi could, quite possibly, lose that fight, too. 

A California federal judge did deny plaintiff Eko’s injunction request, which would have frozen Quibi’s remaining assets, including around 75 original shows that were just sold to Roku last week. 

Also Read: Quibi Autopsy: Service Had Only 450,000 Paid Users When Katzenberg Shut It Down

According to court papers obtained by Variety, Judge Christina Snyder of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said that Eko has failed to prove that Quibi is “fraudulently concealing or transferring assets or has otherwise engaged in a pattern of financial misconduct.”

Notably, however, Snyder did offer support for the central thesis of Eko’s case: That it pitched Snap engineers on Turnstyle. And those engineers took the technology with them when they went to work for Quibi. 

“The Court agrees that the weight of circumstantial evidence is sufficient at this stage to suggest the Snapchat-turned-Quibi employees took the ORTS method [Eko’s Optimized Real Time Switching technology] with them to Quibi and used it to assist with the development of Turnstyle,” Snyder wrote in a Dec. 30 decision. 

Eko has valued the technology that Quibi is alleged to have “misappropriated and infringed” at around $100 million. 

Quibi, which famously raised $1.75 billion in venture capital, plans to return around $350 million to investors. 

A source close to its deal with Roku said the streaming company paid far less than $100 million to acquire the Quibi original shows. 

Those series will not be aided by Turnstyle when playing on the Roku Channel.