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Waymo focuses on trade secrets theft in Uber case, down to one patent infringement claim

At the insistence of the presiding U.S. District Judge, Waymo has reduced the number of patent-infringement claims it is waging against Uber to all but one. Rather, the Alphabet division (via Bloomberg) will be focusing on the theft of trade secrets in its upcoming trial.

Waymo originally accused Uber of infringing on four patents related to the LiDAR technology that is responsible for helping autonomous cars “see” the world. In a filing today, three of the four were dropped as Uber “assured” the court that it is no longer using a LiDAR design codenamed “Spider.”

The remaining “Fuji” design is still in use by Uber, according to Waymo. Infringement claims from Google and Alphabet are usually quite rare given the company’s preference to limit patent fights.

Regardless, the primary case against Uber is over the theft of trade secrets by former Google employee Anthony Levandowski. He is accused of downloading 14,000 files related to self-driving technology before leaving to start a similar startup that was later bought by Uber.

That acquisition made Levandowski head of self-driving at Uber before he was fired for invoking the Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination in May.

Judge William Alsup asked today that Waymo consider dropping the entire patent portion of the case, while also narrowing the over 100 trade secret claims to fewer than 10 for the benefit of the upcoming jury in October.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: