An agreement has been reached this week for Waymo to drop a majority of its patent claims against Uber, in their ongoing legal fight. In return for the settlement, Uber promises to halt development of its allegedly infringing lidar device ‘Spider’. While this may be a relief for Uber, patent claims make up only one aspect of a complex lawsuit between the two companies; Waymo also accuses Uber of stealing trade secrets.
Nonetheless, both companies are claiming today’s agreement as a win. Uber are happy to see any of the myriad claims of its infringement, theft, or otherwise, disappear and, meanwhile, Waymo has successfully stopped the development of Spider, and if Uber is to ever restart this project patent infringement claims will be imminent.
Uber, however, continue to claim that Waymo’s removal of these patent claims in its lawsuit shows signs of a weak case. An Uber spokesperson said: “Waymo’s retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can’t deliver… they now admit that Uber’s LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs.”
On the other hand, Waymo has a slightly different outlook on the case:
“We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents. 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. We continue to pursue a patent claim against Uber’s current generation device and our trade secret claims,” a Waymo spokesperson said.
The messy lawsuit will go to trial in October, and it is likely that there are still more natural processes like this one to go through before the case hits the courts. So far, 100 trade secrets have been minimized to 70, and this number is likely to continue to decrease before trial – after all, you can’t expect a jury to sit through a case that long!