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Submission + - FusionGarage responds to TechCrunch lawsuit (

ZerMongo writes: Michael Arrington (and his company, TechCrunch) have been involved a bit of an intellectual property skirmish over the development of a cheap tablet, the Crunchpad (nee joojoo). Originally envisioned as a joint partnership, FusionGarage abruptly pulled out and decided to bring the product to market themselves. The latest volley in the lawsuit battle between the two lobbed by FG today, as it categorically denied any claims of wrongdoing in developing the JooJoo. The company's response is via press release rather than an official response to the lawsuit, but it does make some interesting assertions, including some that, on their face, seem somewhat contradictory.

As a note, IANAL, nor am I necessarily a fan of TechCrunch nor Michael Arrington. I did, however, read the lawsuit when it came out and found myself leaning toward's Arrington side of the story, as the facts and evidence he points to are far more substantial (and extant) than anything alleged by Fusion Garage thus far.

Most of the release seems more concerned with Michael Arrington's allegations made in his blog postings rather than the lawsuit itself. Fusion Garage says it has plenty of capital and is funded well enough to bring the JooJoo to market. To wit:

Pre-sales have indeed begun and, with or without them, the Company has sufficient funds to bring the joojoo to market and defend itself against the baseless claims of TechCrunch.

In the lawsuit, Arrington also made a tangential note that Fusion Garage would be infringing on patents owned by Petragon for the mainboard.

Fusion Garage is now working with another top tier ODM to develop a completely new board and mechanical layout that is the basis for the joojoo.
To state, as the lawsuit and accompanying blog post do, that Fusion Garage's joojoo is based on any Pegatron IP is false.

This does, however, call into question the company's ability to bring the product to market, as the present tense of "is now working" means they do not have a product to sell yet.

Most of the claims made in Arrington's lawsuit refer to the joint nature of the project, and he pointed to specific examples (the FusionGarage team flew to the U.S. from their Asian headquarters and worked at TechCrunch HQ, TechCrunch paid some bills for FusionGarage, an offer for TechCrunch to acquire FusionGarage was negotiated and agreed upon via e-mail, etc.) that seemed to back this up. The press release basically ignores these allegations, noting only in passing that Fusion Garage has a "doer" status, inferring that TechCrunch does not.

The second half of the press release is devoted to protecting the reputation of Fusion Garage's CEO, noting:

As for the ongoing personal attacks against Rathakrishnan, they do not deserve a point by point response. Arrington's attacks on Rathakrishnan's past business activities are unfounded. The points he raises are old news and raise the question of why he would want to do business with Rathakrishnan if his past was so controversial. Dredging up old and nebulous material only reflects his desperation for material.It seems odd to characterize these allegations as "unfounded" and "old news" — either they're unfounded, or they're old news. If they're old news, they could still be relevant since the whole affair basically resolves down to Mr. Rathakrishnan's honesty in business dealings.

Comment Re:TFA not credible (Score 5, Informative) 91

I read the lawsuit. IANAL, et. al., but it seems to come down to a fundamental question: Did TechCrunch materially contribute to the production of the Crunchpad (nee JooJoo)? Arrington lays out pretty convincing arguments. He notes the idea was conceived and developed to at least the point of Prototype A without the involvement of Fusion Garage at all. Then, at various points, TC directly paid money owed by FG, as well as providing a place for them to stay when FG's development team flew out to SF to work with TC. He (quite rightly) asserts that there is no reason for FG to have flown to the states if they indeed were the sole developers of the CP. There are some ancillary points (false advertising for the JooJoo that it's FG's to sell, solely developed, misrepresentation by FG that they were developing a browser-based OS [they weren't], and a few other misrepresentation claims), but reading the e-mails attached as exhibits there is another strange thing. There are two competing narratives here: One, advanced by Arrington, is a joint project. The other, advanced by FG CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan, argues that FG developed the entire thing. CR's version has been repeated to the press as well as in private e-mails to his investors -- which were sent after he agreed (via e-mail) for FG to be acquired by TC for 35%, at least 5% lower than he would have preferred. Thus far, I haven't read of any evidence that FG's story is correct, and there is nothing that refutes the assertions made by Arrington. Thus, for now, I have to come down his side. But hopefully the court case will make everything clear.

Comment Re:Another craptastic bestseller (Score 1) 122

I wouldn't dismiss so readily as that. I found the book more to be a gritty, realistic re-imagining of fantasy archetypes rather than straight-out repappropriation. If you're looking for something completely original that's never been done, this isn't the book for you. If you're looking for a markedly skewed take on traditional stories, give it a shot.

My take on it can be found here.

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