The establisher of Nreal—the firm which launched its $499 MR glasses at 2019 CES—has been blamed of pinching AR secrets from US-based ex-employer Magic Leap. The Florida firm, which has been operating on an MR gadget for years, claims that Chi Xu (ex-engineer) exploited confidential data to “swiftly design a prototype of ergonomically designed, lightweight MR glasses for employment with devices and smart phones that are strikingly same” to the One device by Magic Leap.
In 2016, Xu left Magic Leap to make his own firm, the Beijing-located Hangzhous Tairuo Technology Co., also dubbed as Nreal. Magic Leap claims that at the time of his 13-month employment period, Xu “abandoned his work jobs” to both acquire proprietary information and work on the roll out of Nreal. While Magic Leap has invested $2 Billion and 7 Years developing its own MR device, Nreal supposed to design its Nreal Light machine in less than two years. Xu has been charged with a lawsuit blaming him of fraud, breaching contract, and unfair competition.
The case is the newest in a series of American companies blaming Chinese firms of intellectual property theft, which has done nothing to enhance the rising trade stress between the two countries. On the other hand, Nreal and Magic Leap are not the only players in the MR field. Microsoft, Facebook, and Alphabet are all operating on their own devices, but it is not yet obvious whether MR will get any traction in the user segment.
On a related note, there are various challenges you encounter if you are interested in a One headset by Magic Leap, not the least of which is using it. Are you actually going to spend $2,295 on the device, even if you are an eager AR developer? You will not have to anymore since the device is now available in AT&T stores.