Connected car platform Smartcar says it's taking legal action against rival Otonomo, which has raised ~$53M to date, alleging copying of its API documentation (Sahas Katta/Smartcar Blog)


We started Smartcar a few years ago with a powerful mission: making it possible for developers to easily build apps for cars. We created a standard API for cars. Developers can read our docs and use our API to locate or even unlock a car’s doors with just a few lines of code. We’re proud of the product our small 20-person team has built and we’re glad to work with the customers we serve.

As developers ourselves, we know that great API experiences need great documentation. That’s something we realized early on. It took us months of ideation, engineering, chatting with customers, and iteration to launch our platform.

A few days ago, we came across Otonomo’s publicly available API documentation. As we read through it, we quickly realized that something was off. It looked familiar. Oddly familiar. That’s because we wrote it.

We didn’t just find a few vague similarities to Smartcar’s documentation. Otonomo’s docs are a systematically written rip-off of ours – from the overall structure, right down to code samples and even typos.

Compare the following screenshots, from Smartcar and Otonomo as of April 16, 2019:

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Even the sample identifier we randomly generated in