Yesterday’s announcement from SmartSky that it filed a lawsuit against one of its vendors, Wireless Systems Solutions (WSS), brought to light significant unease in the process of procuring and deploying hardware for the new air-to-ground network. WSS VP Susan Gross issued a formal statement late Monday in which the company “categorically deny the allegations that SmartSky has put forward in the second-filed lawsuit” and notes that WSS is “pleased” with the opportunity to now properly adjudicate the claims.
Just declaring the assertions untrue is interesting, if not particularly compelling. Fortunately Laslo Gross spoke with PaxEx.Aero today to further explain the WSS position.
We’ve been at this game a long time we don’t need their IP In fact, we couldn’t integrate their IP. The IP they have is essentially the use of our IP and an application that runs on our IP.– Laslo Gross
For example, while discussing the role of DAG Wireless in the intellectual property relationship, Mr. Gross pointed out that SmartSky executives traveled to Israel to meet that team. The meetings, related to the hardware certification, were held in the DAG Wireless offices. And SmartSky filed as evidence a copy of a mutual non-disclosure agreement executed in January 2019 that includes DAG Wireless. In that context it is less clear what technology or intellectual property was improperly disclosed to DAG as part of the recent troubles.
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Mr. Gross acknowledged other aspects of the claim as accurate, including the delivery and then return for rework of radio heads, as well as a comment that WSS would try to sell the hardware to other customers, including Gogo, if things took a turn for the worse. But the reasoning behind those moves is, according to Gross, highly distorted in SmartSky’s filing.
Both parties agree that SmartSky took delivery of some radio hardware and then SmartSky returned it for further work. At this point the stories begin to diverge.
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