Yandex spied on someone else

The AllMyBlog service has filed a lawsuit against Yandex, accusing the company of using his idea in the development of technology for an automatic video translator.
Origin source
On September 1, the public joint-stock company filed a lawsuit against Yandex in the Arbitration Court of the city of Moscow, it follows from the information in the file of cases. The plaintiff is one of the legal entities of the AllMyBlog service, which automates the process of placing, localizing and monetizing videos on international video platforms.

As stated in the statement of claim (RBC has a copy), AllMyBlog asks to recognize the information posted on Yandex's website that the company has developed a machine translation technology for video that has no analogues in the world, does not correspond to reality and tarnishes the business reputation of the plaintiff. The latter also asks the court to oblige Yandex to indicate that this is not a new technology, that such developments were carried out, among other things, by the AllMyBlog team and that the Internet company saw the first results of the work of this product, presentation materials describing the technology and a cover letter with a proposal for possible cooperation ...

What is known about the plaintiff

It follows from the lawsuit that AllMyBlog in February of this year created the Taradam product, which allows you to translate video content into 56 languages ​​of the world. As a partner of Yandex in other projects (in particular, they posted blogging content on the Yandex.Efir platform), on May 24, AllMyBlog sent a presentation to the Internet company with a description of the technology and a proposal for cooperation. Negotiations lasted until July 7, but the next day Yandex announced its own development of robotic video translation in its browser.

Taradam is a Telegram bot. To work with it, you need to send a link to a YouTube video or a file with video content. The bot will ask you to select the source language and one or more translation languages, and after paying for the service, the price of which depends on the language and the length of the video, Taradam will give the user a link or file to the translated content.

According to the founder of AllMyBlog, Kirill Kalashnikov, the company does not demand money in its lawsuit, but for him "it is a matter of principle so that no one would pass off his idea as his own." He said that AllMyBlog has been working with Yandex since 2019 in the field of video content distribution. At the same time, the owners of the service received a request that Russian content is interesting in China, and began to translate. “Video bloggers, who, in Russia, for example, gain 80 thousand subscribers and 200 thousand views, in China could collect 2 million subscribers and 4-5 million views, provided that they presented suitable content with translation into Chinese. We saw great prospects, ”said Kalashnikov.

According to him, "Yandex", having seen the work of the company, requested mathematical models, presentations, there were several meetings with the company's shareholders (but with whom exactly - Kalashnikov did not name). Among other things, the service hoped to attract investments from Yandex. “An NDA (non-disclosure agreement - RBC) was signed on the transfer of technology, but in July the company unexpectedly refused to cooperate and on the same day published a video in which it announced work on a similar product,” said the source of RBC. He also emphasizes that AllMyBlog made its product publicly available earlier than Yandex - on July 1.

At the same time, Kalashnikov suggested that Yandex "could have stolen the technology by accident." “The company became very large, we passed information about the technology to one department, but it could also get into the department, which eventually launched the translation service,” he says.

What are the prospects for the claim

An employee of the Yandex press service stated that they strongly disagree with the claims and requirements of AllMyBlog set out in the claim. According to him, they did not use or use any AllMyBlog developments and did not conduct any investment negotiations with this service.

The Yandex representative insists that the first discussions of the project for translating video on the Internet began in the company in the fall of 2020. “In this project, we use only the company's own technologies - machine translation, biometrics, speech recognition and synthesis,” he said. The Yandex representative recalled that on July 16, the company publicly announced the appearance of the video translation function in Yandex.Browser and told the principles of its operation: video translation will be carried out free of charge by pressing one button - the user will not need to download or install anything additionally , use some third-party platforms or additional software. The technology itself recognizes the language of the original video and, after pressing the button, translates it instantly or in a few minutes, depending on the length of the video. “Based on publicly available information, this approach differs significantly from the project implemented by Taradam. The official website of this project says that for translation, you need to open a Telegram bot, upload a link to the video, select the original language, pay for this service and wait for the service to translate the video, "a Yandex representative explained.

Roman Yankovskiy, partner of the law firm Tomashevskaya and Partners, notes that the creation of competing products very often occurs simultaneously. He admitted that Yandex could be interested in an alternative product, “but in Russia ideas are not protected by law - only a specific object of intellectual property is protected: a work, computer code, etc. If I come to Yandex and say that I have an idea for a flying taxi, they can listen to me, nod, sign an NDA, and after a year launch their flying taxi, and I won't be able to sue them for anything, ”Yankovsky said. According to him, if Yandex did not copy a specific program code, then AllMyBlog has practically no chance of success in court. The fact that Yandex signed the NDA, according to the lawyer, also “does not say anything”: Yandex agreed not to disclose some information, but the release of a similar project does not mean that it disclosed it. The company could release an alternative service without using other people's insider information. "