Robot Patent Infringement?

Boston Dynamics is suing Ghost Robotics for patent infringement. At issue is the quadruped robot known as Spot in Boston’s stable and the Vision 60 and Spirit 40 quadruped robots from Ghost.

The similarities are obvious.

Boston Dynamics claims that Ghost Robotics infringed on seven of its patents. One, “Perception and Fitting for a Stair Tracker.” governs the way Spot climbs down stairs. Two more, both called “Screw Actuator for a Legged Robot.” are also specifically mentioned.

No surprise

This action is not a sudden move on Boston’s part. Their filing mentions that they reached out in July of 2020, asking Ghost to review the patents and make sure it was not violating them. Receiving no response, they followed up in 2021 with a cease and desist letter. In that letter, they mentioned some additional patents, including the seven delineated in the suit they just filed. Earlier this year, they sent another ceae and desist letter pointing out the similarities between the products with diagrams.

“Defendant has directly infringed, and continues to directly infringe, at least claims 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15 of the ’648 patent by making, using, offering for sale, selling, and/or importing into the United States the Vision 60 and Spirit 40 products, and has induced and contributed to the infringement of the ’648 patent by others,” the company said in their lawsuit. “Defendant has deliberately continued to infringe in a wanton, malicious, and egregious manner, with reckless disregard for Boston Dynamics’ patent rights.”

The filing shows, with photos, diagrams, and descriptions, that the Ghost robots operate according to the processes described in the Boston Dynamics patents. It also argues that Boston Dynamics has suffered harm from these infringements.

The complaint asks for a jury trial.

Image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0