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Waymo vs Uber Legal Battle Sees 3 Out Of 4 Patent Claims Against Ride-Hailing Company Dropped

8 July 2017, 8:24 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Google’s self-driving unit, Waymo, has dropped three of its patent infringement claims against Uber. The move comes as the latest development in Uber and Waymo’s high-stakes dispute over autonomous car technology.  ( Waymo )

Waymo has dropped three of four patent infringement claims in its lawsuit against Uber on Friday, July 7, the latest in both companies' heated legal battle over alleged trade theft claims involving autonomous driving technology.

Waymo Drops Some Of Its Patent Claims Against Uber

In a federal court filing, Waymo, Google's autonomous vehicle unit, said it was scaling back some of its claims over Uber violating its patents on LiDAR, a remote-sensing system powering Waymo's driverless car technology. It lets vehicles scan their surroundings and create a virtual map that the software can understand, in turn, helping it navigate roads safely.

Waymo said it dropped three of the four claims because they involve designs Uber no longer uses. The fourth patent claim which remained, however, relates to another LiDAR design called "Fuji," which Uber continues to use, according to a spokesman for Waymo.

The Fight To Dominate The Driverless Car Industry

The landmark dispute represents the toxic battle for dominance in the driverless car landscape, which many market analysts believe will accelerate in the coming decades. The case is especially crucial for Google, which poured years and years developing its driverless technology until other tech firms took a crack at it.

Waymo including patent claims came as a surprise move, as Google normally prides itself on limiting patent fights, according to Bloomberg.

For those unaware of Uber and Waymo's high-stakes legal battle, Waymo claims Uber illegally stole trade secrets from the company when former Google employee and Otto founder Anthony Levandowski downloaded thousands of files onto his computer. These files, according to Waymo, contain documents on its driverless car technology, and Waymo says Uber had used it to develop its own tech when it acquired Otto and brought Levandowski along.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup has told Waymo it should slim down its trade secret claims to a number lower than 10. In a hearing on June 7, Alsup also told Waymo that it should "think a lot about just dropping the patent part of this case."

Uber, naturally, lashed against Waymo amid its decision to scale back claims.

"Waymo's retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver," Uber said in a statement, adding that Waymo has so far failed to present any evidence of the downloaded files in question and that it has already admitted its LiDAR design is different from Uber's.

Thoughts in the latest development in Uber and Waymo's legal dispute? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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