Essential is now reportedly the subject of a new lawsuit brought on by Keyssa, a company who specializes in wireless connector technology. According to a report out of Reuters which in turn cites the filing of a lawsuit today in the U.S. federal court in San Francisco. According to the details, the sum of the lawsuit revolves around Essential’s use of a chip (and its related technologies) which allows the Essential PH-1 (otherwise known as the ‘Essential Phone’) to connect to various accessories, such as Essential’s 360 camera and docking station.
While the chip used by Essential is not actually one that was provided by Keyssa, the report (and by association Keyssa itself) explains that it was in talks with Essential for over 10 months to include its version of the chip in the Essential PH-1. Following which, Essential chose to go with a chip manufactured by another company, but while doing so also included some of the Keyssa techniques that it was made privy to during those earlier negotiations. Technology and design talks which Keyssa states were had under a nondisclosure agreement between the two companies. Which is where the basis of the lawsuit resides with Keyssa effectively accusing Essential of stealing trade secrets (as well as not compensating Keyssa for the use of the tech) and using them to bring to market its debut smartphone and accessories.
While lawsuits to some degree have become common practice in the mobile industry, this one does come with an extra added element of drama due to a Google association between the two companies. As Keyssa is a company that is reportedly backed by Tony Fadell (who is also listed on the company's site as an adviser), the co-founder of Nest, while Essential of course, was founded by a co-creator of Android, Andy Rubin. Although neither of the ex-Googlers were noted as directly part of, or listed in the recent court filings. Reuters did reach out to Essential for comment although one was not provided at the time with Essential stating that it has yet to be served with the lawsuit. While Keyssa stated in the same report that the lawsuit is the result of Keyssa having been unable to resolve the issue with Essential through other means.