Waymo Drops 3 Self-Driving Patent Claims Against Uber

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid equipped with Waymo technology.

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit has dropped three patent claims against Uber, significantly changing its lawsuit against its autonomous rival.

Waymo, in a federal court filing obtained by The New York Times, said it is dropping three of its four claims relating to Uber’s alleged theft of its lidar laser sensor technology.

The company said it agreed to reduce its patent violation claims because Uber had shut down work on a lidar design that breached Waymo’s patents and is continuing with a different design.

Waymo can bring back its claims if Uber goes back to the designs Wyamo disputed. Uber’s current lidar design does still infringe on one of its original patents, however, Waymo said in the filing.

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

Uber, in a statement, said Waymo dropping three claims is “yet another sign” that the Alphabet-owned company is “overreaching.”

Waymo, when it filed its lawsuit in February, accused a former employee, Anthony Levandowski, of downloading 14,000 “confidential and proprietary design” files relating to the company’s “ LiDAR and circuit board” before resigning as the technical lead on Alphabet’s self-driving car division to co-found OttoUber then acquired Otto, an autonomous transport company, in August of 2016 for $680 million, just months after Otto’s start up.

Waymo, in its blog post, alleged Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software on his company-issued laptop.

In a May 15 ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote that Waymo “made a strong showing” that Levandowski did indeed take the files, likely “to have them available to consult on behalf of Otto and Uber.” Alsup ruled that Uber was to hand over a timeline of events from the time Levandowski came on board as well as “ensure that its employees return 14,000-plus pilfered files to their rightful owner.”

Levandowski, however, has cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as a reason for not turning over those documents on his personal computer.

Uber fired Levandowski just weeks later for his failure to comply with the court order.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.