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Google’s Project Loon in peril as the company fails to secure key patent

Google’s internet-beaming balloons may never fly.


Google ambitious Project Loon has been in the testing phase for quite some time now. While it seemed the company may officially launch internet-beaming balloons, the project has come across a major hurdle that could mean an end of the project altogether. Google has failed to acquire an important patent for Project Loon after a company called Space Data claimed they were the first ones to coin the idea.

Space Data accused Google of infringing upon its patents, misappropriation of trade secrets and contract breach after a failed acquisition deal between the two back in 2008. While Space Data secured a major victory by convincing the US patent office, it is now looking to sue Google for the same. For Google, it only means more delay in the project and more importantly, a long legal tussle that could end up with the search giant having to paying a hefty sum. ALSO READ: Google accused of stealing internet-beaming balloon tech for Project Loon

Project Loon has been one of the most ambitious projects for Google in the last decade. The company aims to provide connectivity to remote corners of the world through high altitude balloons. The company has also been in touch with the Indian government for testing the service, though it had grappled with some local issues in India as well. Google s Project Loon is often compared to Facebook s ambitious internet-beaming drones. Facebook has conducted multiple successful tests of its solar-powered drones. ALSO READ: Google s Project Loon could be banned in Sri Lanka

For Google, it s not just the Project Loon that is looking at a deep legal tussle. It s autonomous car subsidiary Waymo has accused Uber of stealing reams of intellectual property for its own automous car project. Even though the two companies are locked in a legal battle, Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the engineer who allegedly used the know how of Google s technology for the former s technology.

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  • Published Date: July 12, 2017 11:15 AM IST

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