Samsara Files Complaint Against Motive With Trade Commission

Motive Files Countersuit in Federal Court Saying Samsara Is the Bad Actor
Samsara offices
Samsara is a fleet telematics provider. (Samsara)

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Alleging that Motive Technologies Inc. has engaged in unlawful patent infringement practices, Samsara Inc. has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to open an investigation, conduct an evidentiary hearing, and issue a permanent cease-and-desist order prohibiting Motive and its subsidiaries from selling, marketing, advertising or distributing various technologies allegedly copied from Samsara.

The legal filing follows Samsara’s complaint last month against Motive in federal court that alleged infringement of the same patents, as well as claims for false advertising, fraud, federal hacking laws and unfair competition.

“Motive imports, sells for importation, and/or sells in the United States after importation fleet management and driver safety technology in this country that infringes several of Samsara’s patents, and was shamelessly copied from Samsara’s products,” the Feb. 8 filing with the Washington-based Trade Commission alleged. “For years, Motive’s business plan has been simple, predictable and endorsed by its senior management team: covertly steal Samsara’s innovations and present them falsely as Motive’s own.”

However, on Feb. 15, Motive countersued Samsara in federal court, calling Samsara a company that attempts to compete with Motive for customers in the marketplace, “but has done so using unethical, improper and unlawful tactics.”

Motive booth

A Motive booth at an industry show. Motive countersued Samsara in federal court Feb. 15.  (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

“Samara has engaged in these tactics because it continues to lag behind Motive in its technology,” the Motive lawsuit said. “In December 2013, over a year before Samsara incorporated, Motive pioneered the first Android- and iPhone-based fleet management and electronic logging platform in the industry.

“Motive’s singular focus on its customers’ most pressing operational needs has led to the release of the only AI-powered platform to combine driver safety, fleet management, equipment monitoring and spend management in one solution. Today, Motive serves over 120,000 customers across North America (including America’s largest fleets), with more than 1 million vehicles and assets managed on its platform.”

Motive alleged that the scope of Samsara’s fraud and unfair competition is “staggering.”

“Among other things, Motive has documented proof of a yearslong campaign of Samsara’s deceit,” the Motive countersuit said.

“Motive — not Samsara — is the true innovator and pioneer in the fleet management and physical operations market,” the countersuit alleged.

Adam Simons


In a statement addressing the countersuit, Samsara spokesman Adam Simons said, “Motive has decided to copy our claims. The allegations in Motive’s suit are a deliberate distraction, and we have every confidence in our defense.”

In its Trade Commission filing, Samsara said its technology enables customers to visualize and analyze their physical operations in real time on a single integrated platform “in a way that was impossible or impractical only a few years ago.”

“Samsara’s significant investments have led the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to award Samsara numerous patents protecting its groundbreaking technology,” Samsara said in the Trade Commission filing.

Motive logo

Samsara said that it has tried — for over a year — to address Motive’s conduct without resorting to litigation. However, Samsara said Motive’s leadership team has “not only refused to own up to its actions, but it has used this time to continue and escalate its tactics.”

“Motive’s unlawful practices have been covert, systematic and extensive,” Samsara told the Trade Commission. “In one of its more brazen campaigns, its management team endorsed a policy whereby senior Motive employees created fictitious companies to procure Samsara products and access its platform.

“This fraudulent access of Samsara’s technology dates back at least to 2018, the year before Motive launched its vehicle telematics offering, and three years before Motive released its video-based safety product.”

Samsara said it is aware that Motive employees surreptitiously “viewed the Samsara Dashboard nearly 21,000 times from 2018 to 2022, when Samsara discovered this access and disabled it.”

Samsara Logo

“Motive employees have also manipulated Samsara’s Customer Support team, posing as employees of real Samsara customers, to ask questions and make requests, including inquiries about the operation of certain of Samsara’s AI video-based safety features, and to seek information about Samsara’s third-party integrations,” Samsara wrote.

The Samsara federal lawsuit said Motive’s “clandestine campaign to infiltrate” Samsara’s platform has been carried out and sanctioned by its CEO, chief product officer and chief technology officer.

The lawsuit said Motive, originally founded in 2013 as KeepTruckin, began by offering an electronic logbook for trucking companies. However, by late 2019, Samsara’s lawsuit alleged, KeepTruckin began to realize that commitments it had made on digital freight brokerage were not working out.

“In a shift, it began developing systems for connecting physical operations and developing AI tools to automate workflows — the same market that Samsara had pioneered years earlier,” Samsara wrote.

Omnitracs also has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Motive, alleging the company for years copied Omnitracs products and patents, and leveraged information from former Omnitracs employees in development of its product line. In a Dec. 6 legal filing, Motive attacked the legal standing of the suit, denied the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the case.

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