Famed Architect’s Lawsuit Against Google Just Got Much More Serious

Eli Attia alleges he wasn’t the only one mistreated by the search giant.

A long-running lawsuit filed against Google by a prominent architect has just gotten much broader.

Last week, the Superior Court of California granted a motion adding racketeering charges to the civil case being pursued against Google by Eli Attia, an expert in high-rise construction. Attia claims Google stole his idea for an innovative building design method – and now he wants to prove that it does the same thing frequently.

Attia’s suit was originally filed in 2014, four years after he began discussions with Google (prior to its reorganization as Alphabet) about developing software based on a set of concepts he called Engineered Architecture. Attia has said Engineered Architecture, broadly described as a modular approach to building, would revolutionize the design and construction of large buildings. Attia developed the concepts based on insights gleaned from his high-profile architecture career, and has called them his life’s work.

Google executives including Google X cofounder Astro Teller came to share his enthusiasm, and championed developing software based on Engineered Architecture as one of the company’s “moonshots.” But Attia claims the company later used his ideas without fulfilling an agreement to pay to license them.

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Attia’s suit names not just Google, but individual executives including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It also names Flux Factory, the unit Attia’s suit alleges was spun off specifically to capitalize on his ideas.

Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, Attia’s lawyer claims Google told Attia his project had been cancelled, “when in fact they were going full blast on it.” Flux Factory is now known as Flux, and touts itself as “the first company launched by Google X.”

Attia’s suit will now also seek to prove that his case is representative of a much broader pattern of behavior by Alphabet. According to court documents, the motion to add racketeering charges hinged on six similar incidents. Those incidents aren’t specified in the latest court proceedings, but Alphabet has faced a similar trade-secrets battle this summer over X’s Project Loon, which has already led to Loon being stripped of some patents.

The idea of racketeering charges entering the picture will surprise many who associate them with violent organized criminals. But under RICO statutes, civil racketeering suits can be brought by private litigants against organizations and individuals alleged to have engaged in ongoing misdeeds. The broader use of racketeering charges has slowly gained ground since the introduction of RICO laws in the 1960s, with some famous instances including suits against Major League Baseball and even the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Google is hosting an event on October 4 and will almost certainly launch new hardware


We’ve been hearing rumors about an upcoming Google event for some time now, and the company has finally confirmed that it’s hosting one on October 4 in San Francisco. The company sent out invites to the event and also tweeted from its @googlenexus account about it, embedding a teaser clip from YouTube; there’s also a new Google page with the aforementioned date (adjusted for your time zone) and what looks like an outline of a smartphone. All signs point to new hardware, but the company isn’t explicitly saying so just yet. October is coming. #madebygoogle https://t.co/UNMr2cJXhk pic.twitter.com/LzyswaEBjh — Google (@google)…

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Google doesn’t want you visiting The Pirate Bay right now


Try hitting up The Pirate Bay to look for torrents with Chrome or Firefox and you’ll most likely see a malware warning message. VentureBeat spotted the issue, which appears to affect only torrent search result pages – that means the entire domain hasn’t been blocked. It’s possible that the site is hosting an ad network that’s running malicious ads. I tried a few searches and noticed that the warning appeared only in certain instances on result pages. Still, that was enough to raise a flag with Google’s Safe Browsing service, which powers security features for both aforementioned browsers. If an…

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You can now play ‘Solitaire’ and ‘Tic-Tac-Toe’ directly in Google

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Google just added two new fun Easter eggs to its search results.

You can now play Solitaire and Tic-Tac-Toe minigames directly in Google’s app and web search results.

To access the new minigames, you just need to search for “Solitaire” or “TIc-Tac-Toe.” Both searches will surface the games, which you can play directly in your browser or the Google app.

Google’s take on Solitaire appears to be a pretty basic version of the classic, though it could prove to be a good source of easy entertainment for those looking to kill a little time. Google even added its logo to the back of the cards — just in case you forgot where you were actually playing.  Read more…

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Twitter, Facebook and Google being sued amidst claims they knowingly ‘aided Paris attacks’


Reynaldo Gonzalez’s daughter, Nohemi, was among the 130 killed when religious extremists attacked Paris last year. Now, he’s suing Twitter, Facebook and Google for facilitating the spread of “extremist propaganda” after alleging the trio “knowingly permitted” ISIS to recruit, raise money and spread its message across each of the respective platforms. According to court documents: “For years, [the companies] have knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits. This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS, and has enabled it to…

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Google Home isn’t good news for Nest

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OK, Google, what’s up with Nest?

You just unveiled your widely anticipated smart home device, Google Home. Like Amazon Echo, it’s an always-listening device that can answer queries, check schedules and work with third-party smart home devices, including those from Nest.

I should be happy about that.

Dotted around my home are four Nest devices: two Nest Thermostats, a Nest Cam (formerly a Dropcam) and Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. I can control the thermostats with my Amazon Echo. By the fall, I might be able to get my hands on Google Home and let it access and control these devices. Read more…

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Google introduces Goals, so you can finally become a better person

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Finding it hard to practice Spanish before your next overseas trip? Google wants to help with that.

On Wednesday, the company launched a new feature called Goals in Google Calendar, its iOS and Android app. If you really want to get into meditation, for example, you can follow Goal’s prompts to find the best time to set aside a few tranquil minutes in your busy schedule.

Typical goals include exercise or learning a new skill, but you can customise the feature with your latest resolutions. If you want to find some time to practice mindfulness, Goals would ask how often you need to practice and what times work best before customising your calendar for you.  Read more…

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Google is giving a big boost to Gmail security

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Google is amping up security and protections for Gmail users, giving people a more noticeable warning if there’s a chance the government is trying to steal their password, giving warnings for dangerous links and proposing a more secure email-sending standard.

Google announced on its blog that it is expanding upon Safe Browsing to alert Gmail users about the possibility of suspicious government activity. Since 2012, Google has put a banner on top of users’ Gmail pages that had a warning about state-sponsored attackers if Google believed they were in danger, but starting today people will get a full-page warning about it — very hard to miss. Read more…

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