Waymo has let go of three out of four patent claims introduced against Uber, as both companies prepare the trial set to begin in October.

Waymo is dropping its claims on patent numbers 8,836,922, 9,285,464 and 9,086,273; saying that these patents were related to a previous version of Uber’s “Spider” system that was not being used by the company anymore. The remaining claim is on a patent related to a newer version employed by Uber of lidar technology named Fiji. Uber has responded to such actions alleging that Waymo is admitting that Uber’s designs are very different from theirs and that there is no room for their claims.

Image Credit: Reuters
Image Credit: Reuters

An Uber spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Waymo’s retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can’t deliver. 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.”

The fight over self-driving car technology patents

Waymo is the self-driving technology arm of Alphabet, which is part of Google. In February 2017, it introduced a lawsuit against Uber saying that its patents were stolen and that Uber had the intention to use them in their autonomous cars. Apparently, it was engineer Anthony Levandowski who took about 14,000 documents when he was part of the company then he left and found Otto, a self-driving truck company that was later bought by Uber.

Waymo is continuing to argue about that information that Levandowski took from their company by stating the following:

“Anthony Levandowski led Uber’s self-driving car program for over a year after stealing 14,000 confidential Waymo files. While Uber has decided it is now advantageous to disavow him, the truth is Uber supported Levandowski’s 5th Amendment claims to avoid self-incrimination well into this litigation and continues to obstruct the production of key documents every step of the way”

U.S. District Judge William Alsup had both companies pledge to simplify their arguments, demands and the scope of the case. He asked Waymo to reduce its theft of trade secret claims from more than 100 to 10. Both companies have been trying to narrow all the evidence that to be admitted during the trial, which is set to start in October.

Waymo's LiDAR device. Image Credit: Getty Images
Waymo’s LiDAR device. Image Credit: Getty Images

Therefore, Waymo decided today to drop 3 of the 4 initial claims that It filed against Uber. These three claims were related to an old designed that is no longer being used by Uber.

Uber will put Alphabet CEO ahead of the trial

Uber on the other hand, decided to depose of Alphabet CEO Larry Page ahead of the trial. Lawyers intend to ask Page why he wouldn’t partner with Uber since he has invested in it. Uber also stated that the recent actions of Waymo show that they were making claims without a base, because the designs of the companies are completely different.

Source: Tech Crunch