Waymo drops 3 of 4 patent infringement claims against Uber

There's still a whole lot o' suin' left to go, though.

Waymo

Even though Waymo's lawsuit against Uber hasn't shown signs of cooling down, Waymo is narrowing the scope of the lawsuit by dropping some of its claims against the ride-hailing titan.

Waymo has dropped three of its four patent infringement claims as part of its lawsuit against Uber, Bloomberg reports. The news comes after a judge requested to narrow the scope of the lawsuit, placing the focus on stolen trade secrets instead of patent infringements.

Waymo's self-driving hardware relies on lidar, which uses light to map the area around the vehicle.

Waymo

"We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents," a Waymo spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that device, so we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device, with the right to re-file suit if needed."

"We continue to pursue a patent claim against Uber's current generation device and our trade secret claims, which are not at all affected by this stipulated dismissal.  We look forward to trial," the statement continued.

Part of the patent-infringement portion of the lawsuit centered on Uber's Spider system. It was alleged that this lidar system, which is used to detect objects around the vehicle, was created as a result of stolen trade secrets. Uber claims that Spider is no longer in use, but a person familiar with Waymo's business said that the company would file additional patent claims if it were put into use again.

Uber, on the other hand, believes Waymo's decision to drop claims signals something different. "Waymo's retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver," said an Uber spokesperson in an emailed statement. "Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber's LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs. Faced with this hard truth, Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance."

Waymo first took Uber to court over allegations that a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded approximately 14,000 confidential Waymo files before leaving to work for Uber. Uber fired Levandowski in May after a judge barred him from working on projects related to the lawsuit.

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