Waymo drops most patent claims in car tech fight with Uber

Waymo on Friday dropped some of its patent claims against Uber in its landmark lawsuit.

The self-driving car startup, which is a Google spinoff, is dropping three of its four patent claims against Uber’s lidar technology. Lidar, a kind of radar technology that uses lasers instead of radio waves, is the key component in self-driving cars that allows the vehicles to “see” the world around them.

First of all, Waymo has narrowed its case, dropping three out of four patent claims it originally made against Uber. Meanwhile, Uber has been granted the ability to depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page about why his company decided against partnering with Uber as part of its autonomous vehicle program.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco has asked Waymo to narrow its more than 100 trade secrets claims to fewer than 10 to put in front of a jury. In a June 7 hearing, he also said, “I want to reiterate to the plaintiff here that you should think a lot about just dropping the patent part of this case.”

Uber had a different take on Waymo’s move, viewing them as a sign Waymo can’t make its case.  “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.” , said an Uber spokesperson.

In addition to the patent news, U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked Waymo to narrow its theft of trade secret claims from more than 100 down to 10 that could be put in front of a jury.

 Over the course of the last several months, the judge has urged both parties to simplify the scope of the case so that each could be adequately prepared to argue the merits of the strongest claims post-discovery. This has been happening at the same time that Uber and Waymo have been arguing over what evidence can be admitted during the trial.

“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,” the Waymo spokesman said in a statement. “We look forward to trial.”

The case is Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., 17-cv-00939, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Comments
Load More Related Articles
Load More In News