Google to Start-ups: “We’ll show you ours, if you let us steal yours”
If LimitNone LLC wins the lawsuit it just filed against Google, it could send a warning signal to other start-ups: don’t show Google your wares, because it will steal your technology out from under you.
That’s effectively what LimitNone is saying, with its lawsuit alleging Google stole its system for migrating Microsoft Outlook customers to Gmail.
The case details LimitNone’s meetings starting in March 2007 with Google to build a tool it called "gMove" for moving the e-mail, address books and calendars of corporate customers from Microsoft Corp’s Outlook into Gmail. The suit alleges Google had trouble building a similar tool.
LimitNone said it entered a confidentiality deal with Google to share trade secrets of its e-mail migration tool with Google engineers, sales people and key Google Apps customers.
Last December, the firm of less than five employees learned from Google that it planned to enter the market for LimitNone’s migration product itself because the business opportunity promised to be huge, according to court papers.
LimitNone calculates its lost revenue at $950 million. Thus far, Google’s keeping quiet–so we don’t know its side of the story.
The tough part will be convincing a judge that Google’s own "Email Uploader" is a direct rip-off of LimitNone’s solution–I mean, how proprietary can it be to move contacts from Outlook to Gmail?
Still, LimitNone’s lead attorney is the same guy who represented American Blinds trademark case–which was dropped when the company could no longer afford legal fees–so we know he’s not afraid to keep attacking Google until his client runs out of money!