News: Meta Reaches Settlement as Patent Infringement Claims Emerge

Meta Reaches Settlement as Patent Infringement Claims Emerge

While Meta Company has agreed to a settlement in its lawsuit against a former employee and his company, they find the tables have now turned on them in the form of patent infringement allegations from another entity.

Recent court filings show that Meta Company has reached a settlement agreement in their trade secret suit against Zhangyi Zhong and his company, DreamWorld. In the lawsuit, Meta alleged that Zhong used confidential information acquired during his employment with Meta to start his own company and develop a competing augmented reality headset.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, as both parties declined to comment at this time. The parties have 45 days to file formal agreement documents with the US District Court for the Northern District of California or otherwise ask for more time.

Meanwhile, a new challenger, Genedics, LLC, has filed their own lawsuit in US District Court for the District of Delaware against Meta for violation of six patents that the plaintiff owns.

Genedic's patents cover image manipulation and user input in three-dimensional space, as illustrated in Fig. 3 from US Patent No. 8,319,773. Image via USPTO

According to court filings, the interrelated patents in question cover user interface methods for image manipulation and user input in a three-dimensional space where projectors display images and sensors identify user input, as applied in the Meta 2 headset.

US Patent No. 8,319,773, filed in 2012 and continued via No. 8,902,225, describe user input by way of gestures that distort the projected original image. US Patent No. 8,477,098, filed in 2013 and continued via Nos. 8,730,165, 9,1110,563, and 9,335,890 detail methods for receiving interactions, correlating them to the original image, and providing a responsive output.

Fig. 4 from US Patent No. 8,319,773 outlines a system and method for a holographic user interface. Image via USPTO

Genedics originally notified Meta of the infringements via letter to Meta's legal team on May 31, 2017. The parties continued correspondence but were unable to resolve the matter, leading to the lawsuit filed on Aug. 1. On Aug. 17, Meta motioned for an extension until Sept. 28 to answer the complaint.

"Genedics's claims are without merit. Meta will vigorously defend our technologies, products and intellectual property in the face of frivolous attacks by other entities seeking to take advantage of our accomplishments," said a spokesperson in a statement provided to Next Reality.

Based in Lenox, Massachusetts, Genedics is led by CEO Gene S. Fein, who is listed as an inventor for the patents, along with Edward Merritt and Jackson T. Fein. According to Gene Fein's LinkedIn page, the company holds more than 100 US patents with more than 250 patents pending. In addition to creating an online distribution platforms for media companies, the company works with 3D computing, augmented and virtual reality, and interface technology, among other pursuits.

Interestingly, Fein is also a veteran of the entertainment industry, with more than 400 television episodes to his credit as creator, producer, director and/or distributor. He is also a voting Grammy member.

Updated: After this post was published on Aug. 21, Fein replied to Next Reality with a statement:

After 15 years in business, working collaboratively with our partners, while creating over 100 issued patents, we have filed our first lawsuit.

We are looking forward to receiving the full protections afforded to inventors under the law. It is important, not just for us, but for all inventors, to know that the laws of our land intended to foster and protect intellectual property creators may be asserted when necessary, even if it is once every fifteen years, as is the case with Genedics.

— Gene Fein, CEO of Genedics
Cover image via Meta Company

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