December 1, 2006

Google sued over alleged Orkut code theft

Affinity Engines, a small software company which writes social-networking software, has filed suit against Google. The lawsuit alleges that the co-founder of Affinity Engines, Orkut Buyukkokten, took their code with him when he left to join Google.

What is the base of the allegation?

Affinity notes similarities between Google's features and their own products, as well as way-too-similar bugs in the services.

Huh, thats interesting.. how many bugs?

"In its initial investigation, AEI (Affinity Engines) uncovered a total of nine unique software bugs ... in AEI's inCircle product that were also present in," according to the lawsuit. "The presence of these bugs in both products is highly indicative of a common source code.... contains software and source code copied, developed or derived from AEI's inCircle software or source code."

"In July 2003, based on oral statements and written assurances from ... Buyukkokten, AEI was led to believe that Buyukkokten was not involved in any software development efforts related to social networking at Google," the company claimed in the lawsuit. "Buyukkokten copied and otherwise used inCircle source code still in his possession," Affinity Engines claims. "At no time during his communications with AEI prior to Jan. 22, 2004, did Buyukkokten reveal that he was developing ..."

It raises an interesting question.. Is Google lack of Engineers that can create a Social Bookmarking System?

More surprising:

"After joining Google, Buyukkokten continued to work on Affinity's InCircle social networking software, signing an agreement stipulating that any social-networking technology created by him was the property of Affinity. "

This is what Google has to say:

Google is denying the allegations, stating that there is no evidence that any of Affinity's source code has been used in In a statement given to, Google said that the suit was without merit:

"Affinity Engines has not provided any evidence to Google that their source code was used in the development of," wrote David Krane, the company's director of corporate communications, in a statement to Wired News. "We have repeatedly offered to allow a neutral expert to compare the codes in the two programs and evaluate Affinity's claims, but Affinity has rejected that offer. We have investigated the claims ... thoroughly and concluded that the allegations are without merit."

Google would be hoping to settle this issue out of court. This is an important time for the Company, as they are preparing for their long-awaited 'Initial public offering'.

[Some parts of this article have been taken from]

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