Waze allegedly stole its competitor's data to better its app

PhantomAlert, a Waze competitor, claims the company stole its "Points of Interest" database for its own gain.
PhantomAlert, a Waze competitor, claims the company stole its "Points of Interest" database for its own gain.

A Waze competitor, PhantomAlert, filed a complaint on Wednesday alleging that the Google-acquired, Israel-based company stole information from its database. 

PhantomAlert claimed that before it was acquired by the technology giant, Waze's CEO Noam Bardin asked Yoseph Seyoum, PhantomAlert's CEO, to “exchange their respective Points of Interest databases,” the complaint stated.

Both companies provide vehicle route information and traffic details based off user reports, including accidents, congestion, and speed and police traps.

The complaint said that Seyoum turned Bardin down. This took place in 2010. Two years later, the complaint alleges, Waze “copied the PhantomAlert Points of Interest database on multiple, additional occasions as the database was updated, starting in or around late 2012.”

This data, the company claimed, was then integrated into Waze's platform. PhantomAlert said it keeps specific Points of Interest in its database for the sole purpose of detecting copying.

Exactly how Waze would have acquired this information remains murky, although one attorney on the case, Karl Kronenberger told SCMagazine.com that the team can think of no “lawful way that Waze could have obtained possession of the PhantomAlert database.”

The company also clarified in the document that if proven true, Google would have acquired “all of Waze's liabilities, including all liability associated with Waze's copyright infringement” when it purchased the company in 2013.

PhantomAlert is seeking monetary compensation, as well as a “preliminary and permanent injunction” that would require Waze to stop operating its website and app.

Waze wouldn't comment on the allegations. 

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