Two weeks ago, a 180-page patent from stealth augmented reality company Magic Leap went public, and many sites–including Co.Design–mined it for the treasure trove of user interface sketches in which Magic Leap dreamed up the future of interface.
But as Gizmodo’s Sean Hollister discovered, many of these sketches were copies of ideas by concept artists. And by copies, we don’t just mean vaguely similar concepts. We mean an illustrator appeared to trace several concepts outright and paste them into the application. You can see one such example here of a gamified chopping block. It’s a literal 1:1 representation the 2008 sci-fi short Sight, right down to the three slices of bread in the interface.
When questioned, Magic Leap representatives admitted to Gizmodo that the images had been lifted–saying they represented contemporary consumer expectations and had only been meant as a demonstration of what their hardware platform could do–and that they were patenting the hardware, not the UI. Furthermore, Magic Leap’s use of the images likely falls under fair use.
Of course, if a company worth $2 billion in its latest valuation really wanted to make things right, it looks like they’ve found a pool of great talent to recruit and shower in stock options.