A look back at Uber’s hellish year

Waymo drops most patent claims in Uber lawsuit

In July, there were a few big breaks in the case between Waymo and Uber over self-driving car technology. As a result, the scope of the case started to come into focus as both companies began preparing for a trial set to begin in October.

Waymo, the self-driving technology arm of Google parent Alphabet, filed the lawsuit in February, alleging theft of trade secrets that Uber planned to use in its autonomous vehicles. The on-going case centers around engineer Anthony Levandowski, who Waymo claims stole 14,000 documents before leaving the company and founding Otto, a self-driving trucking company, which Uber later acquired.

Waymo decided to drop its claims on U.S. Patent Nos. 8,836,922, 9,285,464 and 9,086,273, noting that they were related to an earlier version of Uber’s autonomous lidar design nicknamed “Spider” that the company was no longer using. The remaining patent claim targets a newer version of lidar technology called Fiji, which is still in use by Uber.

In addition to the patent news, U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked Waymo to narrow its theft of trade secret claims from more than 100 down to 10 that could be put in front of a jury.

Over the course of the last several months, the judge had urged both parties to simplify the scope of the case so that each could be adequately prepared to argue the merits of the strongest claims post-discovery.

Waymo, for its part, continues to argue that Uber was aware of the confidential information Levandowski took before leaving Google.