In an explosive new allegation, a renowned architect has accused Google of racketeering, saying in a lawsuit the company has a pattern of stealing trade secrets from people it first invites to collaborate.
Architect Eli Attia spent 50 years developing what his lawsuit calls “game-changing new technology” for building construction. Google in 2010 struck a deal to work with him on commercializing it as software, and Attia moved with his family from New York to Palo Alto to focus on the initiative, code-named “Project Genie.”
The project was undertaken in Google’s secretive “Google X” unit for experimental “moonshots.”
But then Google and its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin “plotted to squeeze Attia out of the project” and pretended to kill it but used Attia’s technology to “surreptitiously” spin off Project Genie into a new company, according to the lawsuit.
“The real adding-insult-to-injury was Google telling him the project had been canceled and they weren’t going forward with it when in fact they were going full blast on it,” Attia’s lawyer Eric Buether said in an interview Friday.
Also named as defendants are Google X founder Sebastian Thrun and Eric “Astro” Teller, the head of Google X, who are alleged to have negotiated with Attia over his technology.