Waymo Scales Back Claims Against Uber in Driverless Car Dispute


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.

In its lawsuit, Waymo's charged that a former Google self-driving auto executive, Anthony Levandowski, took proprietary lidar information with him when he left Google and created his own self-driving trucking startup called Otto.

Waymo LLC, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet Inc., dropped three of its four claims against Uber Technologies Inc. over self-driving auto technology, according to a filing Friday. Lidar is a system for using lasers to allow self-driving cars to "see" the streetscape around them.

Waymo on Friday dropped some of its patent claims against Uber in its lawsuit over autonomous vehicle technology.

Uber claims Levandowski downloaded those 14,000 files during a dispute with Waymo over his bonus. Waymo is permitted to reassert its claims if Uber returns to the design that Waymo challenged.

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Uber, on the other hand, believes Waymo's decision to drop claims signals something different. Alphabet sued Uber over more than 100 trade secrets and in a bit of a surprise, also accused Uber of violating four LiDAR related patents. "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". "We look forward to trial".

In a statement, Uber said the dropping of the three claims was "yet another sign" of Waymo overreaching and not delivering on its claims.

"I think you're going to lose on all these patent claims unless you pull some rabbit out of a hat", Alsup told Waymo at a June hearing.

In a statement to Fortune, a Waymo spokesperson said, "We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents". Indeed, Uber said that Levandowski admitted as much to former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and that the corresponding files were supposed to be destroyed during Uber's acquisition of Otto.

Waymo has said that Mr. Levandowski worked with Uber to steal proprietary information from Google before joining Uber.