147888323 | Ozdereisa | Dreamstime
Samsara Motive IP legal battle

Motive countersues Samsara, alleging company poached engineers, stole AI tech

Feb. 16, 2024
Embroiled in a legal battle, the Silicon Valley fleet technology companies accuse each other of stealing intellectual property and engaging in anticompetitive behavior. Motive launches website to ‘set the record straight.’

Motive Technologies is countering Samsara’s claims that the competing transportation technology company stole its intellectual property with a lawsuit of its own, alleging that Samsara is copying Motive’s products and artificial intelligence technology and waging a marketing campaign against its rival. 

“Motive has spent years developing AI to prevent accidents and make our roads safer,” Shoaib Makani, co-founder and CEO of Motive, told FleetOwner. “Samsara hasn’t been able to compete on the AI front and is losing large enterprise customers to Motive as a result. Instead of building a better product, Samsara has resorted to unlawful and anticompetitive business practices in an attempt to close the gap. We challenge Samsara to resolve this on the road rather than in a courtroom.”

See also: How AI could change trucking in 2024

Both San Francisco-based companies offer fleet technology solutions that include telematics and vehicle dashcams. Samsara initially claimed in a Jan. 24 lawsuit that Motive stole Samsara’s intellectual property through patent infringement and false advertising. Samsara also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission to prevent Motive from importing its Vehicle Gateway and Dashcam products into the U.S.

“Rather than stopping its unlawful conduct, Motive has decided to copy our claims,” Adam Simons, a spokesperson for Samsara, told FleetOwner. “As demonstrated in our complaint, this is the same copycat tactic Motive uses for its product development. The allegations in Motive’s suit are a deliberate distraction, and we have every confidence in our defense. We remain focused on putting an end to Motive’s ongoing infringement and unlawful conduct to ensure fair competition, innovation, and safety for the entire industry.”

Samsara’s allegations include charges that Motive's AI Dashcam includes technology developed by Samsara and that Motive skewed studies in its favor that compared the two companies’ dashcams. Both companies’ dashcam solutions include AI technology that detects driver behaviors inside the cab, such as distraction, and outside the vehicle, such as tailgating. 

Motive filed its lawsuit Feb. 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The company, formerly known as KeepTruckin, claims it pioneered the fleet products and technology that Samsara claims was stolen. Motive’s claims against Samsara include patent infringement, theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, fraud, false and deceptive advertising, defamation, and intentional interference with prospective economic relations. 

“We invite Samsara to participate in a third-party study to benchmark AI dashcam performance,” a Motive spokesperson told FleetOwner. “Motive firmly believes that AI products should be benchmarked to protect their users, especially when they promise to improve driver safety and save lives.”

Motive also created a website, truthandsafety.com, that lays out its claims that it beat Samsara to market with various fleet technologies. Motive said it developed the first iOS- and Android-based fleet management and electronic logging platform in 2013 and manufactured its first vehicle gateway in August 2015. The suit claims that Samsara, founded in 2015, copied and released its vehicle gateway in 2016.

Motive also notes in its lawsuit that it certified its electronic logging device with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in July 2016, a year before Samsara certified its own ELD with the FMCSA, with a Driver App that was a copy of Motive’s. 

The latest lawsuit also claims that Samsara “poached” Motive executives and engineers to steal trade secrets in 2019, including Motive’s AI Dashcam, which it said is similar to technology Samsara is launching this year.

“Samsara’s lawsuit and marketing campaign against Motive represents an underhanded attempt to limit competition and stifle innovation,” a Motive spokesperson told FleetOwner. “We launched this site to set the record straight and work toward ending Samsara’s unlawful and anticompetitive behavior.”

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!