Google spin-off Waymo, the firm's self-driving car division, has dropped three of its four patent claims against Uber.
The crux of Waymo's original lawsuit revolved around Uber's use of LiDAR (light radar, the means by which self-driving cars ‘see' their surroundings), which it claimed was stolen by ex-Googler Anthony Levandowski. Uber fired Levandowski in May.
The remaining case is still focused on LiDAR, and Waymo says that it dropped the other three patent claims to narrow its focus on Uber's multi-lens ‘Fuji' system. It is also suing its rival over alleged trade secret violations and unfair competition.
A spokesperson for Waymo told Business Insider, "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, which are not at all affected by this stipulated dismissal. We look forward to trial."
For its own part, Uber says that Waymo's move signifies that the company overextended itself and was unable to prove its claims. "Faced with this hard truth [that Uber's LiDAR design is different from Waymo's], Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance."
Levandowski was alleged to have stolen 14,000 files from Waymo, including blueprints and testing documentation, using specialised software that he installed on his company laptop.
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