Waze founder faces legal battle in Israel

Google-owned Waze is potentially facing a class-action lawsuit due to allegations that Waze's creator built the firm based on the efforts of those involved in a community mapping project.

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The founder of mapping technology firm Waze is facing a NIS 500 million lawsuit over allegations that the firm's software infringed upon an open community project in Israel.

According to Israeli publication Globes, accountant Roy Gorodish claims Waze founder Ehud Shabtai built the firm on the basis of free Roadmap software which was released thanks to the efforts of a community project to map Israel.

Waze was purchased by Google for $996 million. The mapping software start-up used crowdsourced traffic and navigation information to add more valuable data to mapping services, and Google purchased the company in order to add traffic updates to the Google Maps service.

Gorodish says that the community-based Freemap Israel project was robbed of its right to profit due to the sale, as Shabtai was allegedly a "founding member of the community" of the Freemap project, and the software was taken in order to found Waze. As a result, the accountant says that $64 milion—half the value of Waze's intellectual property at the time it was sold—should be recovered and given to community members who created the underlying Waze software and Israel map.

Gorodish has asked that the NIS 500 million lawsuit is recognized and transformed in to a class-action lawsuit by an Israeli court.

A Waze spokesperson told the publication, "We have not yet received the statement of claim. If and when it arrives, we'll study it and respond accordingly."