Eko's legal battle with Quibi just took a high-profile turn.
Paul Singer's Elliott Management is financing Eko's patent lawsuit targeting Quibi, the new premium, short-form streaming service founded by Hollywood icon Jeffrey Katzenberg, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Elliott, an activist investor and hedge fund with about $40.2 billion in assets that recently pushed for big changes at AT&T, will also secure a still-unknown equity stake in New York-based Eko as part of the financing, the paper added.
Elliott's involvement gives Eko a well-heeled backer and financial ammo to take on Quibi, a startup that has raised about $1.75 billion.
Word of Elliott's involvement emerges nearly two months after Quibi sought a declaratory judgment that its "Turnstyle" tech doesn't infringe on a patent owned by Eko, a company that has developed an interactive storytelling platform. The Eko patent in question – US No. 10,460,765 – describes "Systems and Methods for Adaptive and Responsive Video."
Turnstyle, a technology key to Quibi's mobile-focused streaming service, maintains the full-screen experience as content is viewed on smartphones in portrait or landscape mode. Eko alleges that certain Quibi employees who previously worked at Snap obtained intellectual property, including source code, for Eko's service while at Snap. In addition to characterizing Eko's claims as "untrue and implausible on their face," Quibi claims that the employees referenced by Eko are not engineers or computer programmers and don't read source code.
Quibi launched on April 6 and generated about 1.7 million downloads during its first week and expects to release 175 new original shows during its first year. Quibi's service costs $4.99 per month with ads and $7.99 without but has primed the pump with a 90-day free trial and a partnership with T-Mobile.
- Quibi notches 1.7M downloads in first week
- Consumers already quibbling about Quibi's lack of TV support
- Quibi in legal quarrel over its 'Turnstyle' tech
- Quibi pitches 90-day free trial to pump early sign-ups
- CES 2020: Google grabs big tech role in Quibi's phone-focused video service
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading