It was a long time coming, but we finally have a meaningful conclusion to the legal case against augmented reality startup Meta Company.
On Tuesday, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware granted a permanent injunction against Meta Company and its founder Meron Gribetz.
In January, Next Reality first broke the news that Meta Company was insolvent and was in the process of shutting down and selling off its assets. We found the details of the company's financial troubles buried in documents responding to a patent infringement lawsuit from Genedics against Meta Company.
Now, after months of the failed attempts by the court to get Meta Company and its founder to engage the legal process further, Judge Christopher J. Burke has ruled in favor of Genedics.
"The Court issues a permanent injunction barring Meta Company, Meron Gribetz, and John Sines [Meta Company's chief financial officer] from further infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,319,773; U.S. Patent No. 8,477,098; U.S. Patent No. 8,730,165; U.S. Patent No. 8,902,225; U.S. Patent No. 9,110,563; and U.S. Patent No. 9,335,890 (collectively, the "Patents-In-Suit")," reads the legal decision.
"[The injunction prevents] them (a) from manufacturing, importing, offering to sell, selling, or using within the United States, either alone or with others in active concert or participation with any of them, systems containing Meta 1 or Meta 2 headsets (and any associated software) or any colorable variation thereof, or (b) from inducing or contributing to the manufacturing, importing, offering to sell, selling, or using within the United States, either alone or with others in active concert or participation with any of them, systems containing Meta 1 or Meta 2 headsets (and any associated software) or any colorable variation thereof."
The court's decision also touches upon the topic of monetary relief.
"In light of Defendant's repeated assertions to the Court that it lacks any funds or assets, and in light of Defendant's inability in recent months to engage counsel to defend this suit, the record sufficiently demonstrates that Plaintiff would not likely be made whole with a monetary award," writes Judge Burke.
"Further, the record provides some cause for concern that, without entry of a permanent injunction, Defendant and/or its executives, Mr. Gribetz and Mr. Sines, might continue to infringe Plaintiffs patents in the future."
As for the new owners of Meta Company's assets, Meta View, it's unclear how this ruling will affect its future. A visit to Meta Company's website reveals that the new owners have taken over the domain and posted a new message that reads: "A new spatial computing company is emerging."
Along with the new tagline, there's also a new logo, which takes the old font of the original Meta logo and combines it with the word "morphosis." Other than those elements, the website is now devoid of the previous product shots of the Meta 2, as well as any other company information.
Back in May, the new owners confirmed that they would support existing Meta 2 users, but would no longer sell the device itself.
However, since much of the value of Meta Company's assets were in the technology rather than its hardware inventory, it remains to be seen how Meta View will be able to move forward with any new products without utilizing the Meta Company patents mentioned in the initial lawsuit. Meta View did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update: A spokesperson for the new company that purchased Meta Company's assets, currently operating under the name Meta View, has released a statement: "We've read the injunction and we respect court rulings and rights of IP holders."
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