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FusionGarage, the company behind the much-hyped (and nearly equally reviled) JooJoo tablet scored some key legal victories in its fight against Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch.
Arrington’s suit, it seems, was tenuous at best, given the fact that TechCrunch and Fusion Garage never actually had a contract when they decided to go into business on what was then called the CrunchPad. Engadget’s Nilay Patel calls out the particularly legally suspect “misappropropriation of business ideas” claim.
A court in San Francisco ruled on the suit, which was originally filed in December of last year, dismissing all but that “breach of fiduciary duty” complaint. Writes Patel,
Fiduciary duty has always struck us as TechCrunch’s strongest argument, and the court’s now effectively ruled that Fusion Garage and TechCrunch were indeed involved in a joint business venture with legal obligations to protect each others’ interests. That’s not a bad position from which to proceed — although TechCrunch now has to prove that Fusion Garage actually violated its duty by releasing the Joojoo on its own, which is a whole new fight.
The germ of the JooJoo bagan in July of 2008, when Arrington announced his intentions to manufacturer and release a $200 Internet tablet, enlisting Singapore-based manufacturer FusionGarage to help bring the device to life. By November of last year, FusionGarage announced that it was no longer working with TechCrunch, rechristening the device the JooJoo.
After numerous delays and low pre-orders (around 90 total units in the first couple of months, according to paperwork filed in conjunction with the lawsuit), the device finally began shipping in March. The JooJoo has since been plagued by negative reviews from critics and professionals, particularly in light of the launch of Apple’s iPad.
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