In an ongoing legal dispute between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet has dropped three of four patent claims and they have been instructed by the judge in the case to significantly reduce the scope of the trade secret claims that form the heart of the lawsuit. The legal dispute commenced when Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division, sued Uber claiming the company accessed trade secrets when they hired Anthony Levandowski. Levandowski had been with Waymo and is alleged to have downloaded over 14,000 files before leaving the company and joining Uber. 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.
According to Waymo, the decision to drop three of the four patents from the lawsuit is based on Uber’s statements that they are no longer using the device that contained the patented technology. Those claims related to a LiDAR design known as “Spider.” However, Waymo continues to contend that Uber is still using a “Fuji” LiDAR design that infringes on the fourth patent.
Uber noted in a statement regarding this latest move,
“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.”
A far as the trade secret claims, Waymo is fighting a bit of an uphill battle there. Judge Alsup with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco asked Waymo to narrow over 100 claims to less than 10 before putting the matter in front of a jury. A month ago Judge Alsup also advised Waymo that they should seriously consider dropping the patent claims. Meanwhile, Uber finds their case being hampered by Levandowski, fired by the company in May, who has invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination.