Magic Leap has settled with former executives Gary Bradski and Adrian Kaehler, two computer vision experts who became embroiled in a legal battle after they left their jobs at the billion-dollar Miami-area smartglasses startup.
Litigation in California’s Northern District court between the three parties was settled in a “confidential agreement” last week. Details about the settlement are not public.
The battle between the two former Magic Leap execs and their former employer spilled into public view last year after dueling lawsuits were filed, with Magic Leap accusing the two engineers of ripping off its technology and talent, and Bradski and Kaehler suing for wrongful termination.
The lawsuit revealed mixed feelings about Magic Leap’s CEO, Rony Abovitz, as well as a major disconnect between the startup’s Silicon Valley satellite office and its headquarters in Florida. Bradski founded Magic Leap’s West Coast office in 2013, according to the lawsuit.
“Like [Steve] Jobs, R has a reality distortion field. Unlike Jobs, R’s is more like a bad high, just leaves you feeling tired with a vague headache in the morning and is not productive,” Bradski wrote in an email to Kaehler in August 2015, which was uncovered in the lawsuit.
The settlement, made public last week, comes shortly after a round of depositions was taken, according to a person familiar with the case. The former executives had looked to depose senior Magic Leap leadership including Abovitz, and Magic Leap had looked to depose Kaheler for 10 hours.
“Over 7 hours has already been taken with Dr. Kaehler and based on the substantial time spent by you on completely irrelevant matters (e.g., whether Dr. Kaehler knows Magic Leap board members who are now actively trying to oust Rony Abovitz from his CEO position), we truly believe you should have completed the deposition yesterday,” Kaehler’s lawyer wrote in a July 6 email made public in court documents.
Magic Leap earlier this summer had looked to gain access to records from Sophia Viklund, Kaehler’s fiancé and an advisor to the Silicon Valley Deep Learning Group, because she had emailed Magic Leap’s board members and sent a series of now-deleted tweets about the lawsuit in June, accusing Magic Leap’s CEO of pursuing the lawsuit for “personal revenge and self-aggrandizement,” according to court documents filed by Magic Leap’s lawyers. Viklund declined to comment.
Bradski has founded a new startup, Arraiy.com, which develops computer vision technology, and Kaehler is starting a new company in stealth.
Magic Leap has raised $US1.4 billion from backers including Google, valuing the company at several billion dollars. It’s developing a pair of smartglasses, priced at $US1000 or more, like Microsoft’s Hololens that integrates computer graphics and the real world. It has not released a product but many expect the company to publicly release a version of its hardware specifically geared for developers by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, Magic Leap reached a confidential settlement with former marketing VP Tannen Campbell. Magic Leap didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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