Magic Leap is a tech company founded in 2010 that has been developing lightweight AR glasses, more or less behind closed doors, for years. In 2018, they released their product called the Magic Leap One, a compact AR headset with built-in cameras, sensors, and speakers that allow users to superimpose interactable virtual elements over their real-world environment. The glasses not only have exciting applications in gaming, but also sports statistics, news, and even peer-to-peer communication. The company spent years and “hundreds of millions of dollars” on research and development, and are filing a lawsuit against a former employee that allegedly took confidential information with him as he left the company to start his own, and allegedly developed a very similar headset.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Magic Leap is now suing that former employee, named Chi Xu, as well as the company he started, Hangzhou Tairuo Technology Co., or Nreal. According to the lawsuit Magic Leap Inc. v. Xu, 19-cv-03445, “Magic Leap seeks to protect its confidential and proprietary information developed at substantial expense, time and effort, to obtain remedies in equity and law for Chi Xu’s material breach of his contractual obligations with Magic Leap, and for unfair competition and other wrongful conduct by Chi Xu and Nreal.”
Xu had reportedly worked for Magic Leap as a software engineer for just over a year, from July 2015 to August 2016, signing all the necessary agreements that protected against the improper usage or disclosure of any and all confidential information that may have been obtained during his tenure with the company. Once he left Magic Leap, he started Nreal just months later in January 2017 and allegedly developed a headset “strikingly similar to confidential Magic Leap designs and confidential and proprietary information” he would have had access to as an employee. Magic Leap seeks compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, the specific dollar amount being requested in the case by Magic Leap from Xu and Nreal has yet to be released.