Posted: January 16th, 2018
By: Jamie Burchette *| Staff WriterIt is an age-old story – companies work together, but the relationship sours. Sometimes this is the end of the story, and sometimes this is only the beginning. The relationship between Keyssa Inc and Essential Products Inc seems to be heading in the latter direction.
Keyssa is a company that wants to change the way devices connect with each other. There are already several existing ways: cables, Wi-Fi, etc., however, Keyssa’s product, Kiss Connectivity, promises many benefits over existing connections. Wireless connections take up a significant amount of space inside devices since the connection requires antennas. While these antennas are small, they are relatively large when they are placed inside a smartphone. On the other hand, Kiss Connectivity is “coffee bean-sized” and takes up less space. And, unlike cables, Kiss Connectivity does not require an opening in the device. Kiss Connectivity is more secure than Wi-Fi since it is a direct connection between the two devices without going through any routers. Even more impressively, Kiss Connectivity allows data transfer speeds of up to 6GB per second.
Keyssa has been developing this technology since 2009, and it is just starting to roll it out. In October 2016, Keyssa announced it was placing Kiss Connectivity in Intel 2 in 1 devices. In August 2017, Keyssa partnered with Samsung and Foxconn to place Kiss Connectivity chips in smartphones. Keyssa’s thunder, however, was stolen by the Essential Phone. The Essential Phone was released shortly after the partnership was announced, and it came equipped with a “magnetic connector with wireless data transfer.” For Keyssa, this move raised some eyebrows, and, subsequently, Keyssa filed a lawsuit against Essential Products.
Keyssa’s lawsuit does not allege that Essential Products stole their chip technology. Instead, this lawsuit has taken a different path. According to Keyssa, the two companies spent ten months discussing Keyssa’s technology. These discussions involved Keyssa’s trade secrets, which Essential Phone was obligated not to disclose under a non-disclosure agreement. Eventually, Essential Products ended the relationship and, instead, used a competing chip from SiBEAM. Still, the Essential Phone incorporated elements, such as testing methods and antenna designs, which Keyssa claims are trade secrets which they had shared with Essential Products.