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Former Magic Leap employee accused of stealing tech to launch own AR glasses

Nreal unveiled its own AR glasses at the start of 2019, but Magic Leap's lawsuit casts doubt on the company's ability to develop the technology and build a prototype in such a short span of time.

Magic Leap has filed a lawsuit against a former employee, accusing him of stealing technology developed by the company and using it to quickly create a competing product at the company he founded shortly after leaving Magic Leap.

According to Bloomberg, Magic Leap is accusing its former employee Chi Xu of breach of contract, fraud, and unfair competition in a lawsuit filed in California on Monday.

Xu left Magic Leap in 2016 and founded the Chinese company Nreal in 2017. The company then unveiled its Nreal Light augmented reality glasses at the start of 2019, but, according to Bloomberg, Magic Leap’s lawsuit casts doubt on Nreal’s ability to develop the technology and build a prototype in such a short span of time.

“Whereas Nreal purported to develop its Nreal Light product in under two years, Magic Leap developed its technology after extensive investment of time (multiple years), money (hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research and development) and human resources (hundreds of engineers),” reads the lawsuit filed this Monday. Magic Leap says its own technology took over $2 billion and seven years to develop.

The company alleges that Xu used his 13 month long employment at the company to acquire information on proprietary tech from Magic Leap, then “quickly develop a prototype of lightweight, ergonomically designed, mixed reality glasses for use with smartphones and other devices that are strikingly similar” to Magic Leap’s existing AR goggles like the Magic Leap One.

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