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Quibi Quibble Quickens, as Patent Dispute Gets Accelerated Hearing Date

(Image credit: Quibi)

A federal judge in Los Angeles has pushed up the date for his court to hear a motion by New York-based technology company Eko seeking an injunction on a fundamental technology used by new mobile-first streaming service Quibi.

According to this week’s court order, obtained by Deadline, based on a review of the plaintiffs ex parte application for an accelerated hearing date, there is “sufficient good cause” to hear the motion for preliminary injunction on May 4 instead of the originally scheduled date of June 29.

The courts in Downtown Los Angeles are currently shut down amid the COVID-19 crisis. But score this as a small legal victory just the same for Eko, which goes by the name “JBF-Interlude 2009-Israel” in legal papers. 

Also read: Quibi ‘Turnstyle’ Feature Flips Over Patent Litigation

New York-based Eko, a company that creates interactive videos for entertainment and advertising applications, claims it developed and patented the phone-flipping feature that Quibi calls “Turnstyle.”

In March, Quibi preemptively filed suit first, claiming to a California federal court that, “After seeing Quibi’s keynote address at CES, Eko embarked on a campaign of threats and harassment to coerce money or a licensing deal from Quibi.” 

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg conceded taking a meeting with Eko CEO Yoni Bloch in 2017, prior to creating Quibi. But he says he doesn’t remember much about that meeting, and he isn’t the kind of engineering technologists who might remember the technical details, anyway.

In a statement, Quibi said, “Our Turnstyle technology was developed internally at Quibi by our talented engineers and we have, in fact, received a patent for it. These claims have absolutely no merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them in court.” 

In its own statement, Eko responded, “Over 10 years, Eko has contributed a multitude of patented inventions to the interactive video space. It appears that others have found significant value in incorporating our technology into their endeavors without our permission. We are hopeful for an amicable solution that rightfully recognizes our work.”

Also read: Tough First Day? Quibi Generates Only 300K App Downloads, Gets Battered by Critics

Quibi launched this week amid a disrupted market, with reviewers largely evaluating the service’s short form content—intended for viewing during busy days out and about—while stuck at home amid social distancing. 

Meanwhile, the Quibi app was downloaded 300,000 times on its first day in the U.S. market, according to Sensor Tower. That’s probably a good first-day performance by most measures. But it somehow—and perhaps, unfairly—got compared to the boffo launch of Disney Plus, which had 4,000 U.S. app downloads on its first day.