Image courtesy: Flipboard
Quibi’s zombie may be able to rest its weary head for the first time. The company’s successor has settled a long-running conflict with the company’s perpetual thorn in the flesh, Eko. Eko, an interactive video firm, and Quibi’s successor QBI Holdings stated today that they had reached an agreement in their legal dispute over Quibi’s perspective-shifting Turnstyle feature, which Eko claimed the streaming service stole from its own proprietary video technology. Both businesses have decided to drop their legal actions against one another, and Quibi will hand up both the video technology and the Turnstyle IP to Eko as part of their deal.
“This outcome will help guarantee that Eko stays the unchallenged leader in interactive storytelling technology,” said Yoni Bloch, CEO of Eko. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman launched Quibi, which debuted last year amid a rush of streaming releases. The mobile-first service was designed to fill those in-between moments on the train or in line when users had time to kill on their phones, with Quibi serving out high-production-value “quick bite” films backed by top producers and A-list celebrities.
The issue was that the service debuted during the epidemic, when the on-the-go viewers it intended to attract were stranded. Initially hesitant to provide casting functionality, the service struggled to retain paying members. Quibi was beset by a slew of issues from its inception to its tragic death less than a year later, including, but not limited to, constant legal disputes with Eko.
Eko, an interactive storytelling platform, alleged that Quibi stole the idea for its Turnstyle technology, which allowed Quibi users to view different viewpoints from a title depending on whether their phone was in portrait or landscape mode. Quibi’s technology, according to Eko, is “a near-identical replica of its own, from the patented smart video response system down to the way data are produced, formatted, and stored.” In October 2019, Eko received a patent for its unique video technology.
Quibi ultimately went down in December, and Roku rushed in to acquire the IP remnants of its demise for its own streaming service, The Roku Channel. However, it left behind the Turnstyle technology and associated legal issues, which remained unsolved until last week.
Katzenberg’s camp said in a statement that they were “happy with the conclusion of this action, and proud of the independently made contributions of Quibi and its engineering team to content display technology.” If only someone had put it to use.