Boston Dynamics holds several patents for its robot dog Spot. Some are said to have injured Ghost Robotics in its Vision 60 and Spirit 40 robotic dogs.
Ghost Robotics’ Vision 60 robotic dog is said to infringe on Boston Dynamics’ patents, including one for climbing stairs. (Image: Ghost Robotics (screenshot))
Robot maker Boston Dynamics has sued its US competitor Ghost Robotics for possible patent infringement in their Vision 60 and Spirit 40 robot dogs. This is according to a lawsuit Boston Dynamics filed in federal court for the District of Delaware. Ghost Robotics offers similar four-legged robots with similar functions with the counterparts to Spot from Boston Dynamics.
Specifically, there are seven patents that Boston Dynamics sees as being infringed:
- 9,308,648 “Systems and Methods for Robot Self-Control”
- 9,387,588 “Treatment of Gait Disorders with Asynchronous Timing”
- 9,662,791 “Systems and Procedures for Robot Self-Driving Law”
- 10,253,855 “Screw Actuator for a Legged Robot”
- 11,073,842 “Perception and Adjustment for a Stair Tracker”
- 11,123,869 “Robotic Climbing of Stairs”
- 11,131,368 “Screw Actuator for a Legged Robot”
Boston Dynamics, which has belonged to Hyundai Motor Group since June 2021, describes in detail in the lawsuit how Ghost Robotics is said to have infringed on the individual patents. Boston Dynamics believes Ghost Robotics knowingly infringed the patents. The lawsuit states, “Defendant willfully, maliciously, and egregiously continued to infringe the patent rights of Boston Dynamics.”
Boston Dynamics: Long spat over patent infringement
Spot by Boston Dynamics was the result of several years of research. First from the four-legged robot BigDog, tested in 2004 and discontinued in 2015. In the same year, Boston Dynamics presented Spot, and a year later, in 2016, Spot Mini. In September 2019, Boston Dynamics then launched Spot for commercial use – for example for mobile surveillance of company premises or investigations and not just for dancing . The robot can be equipped with cameras and various sensors as well as a gripper arm for manipulating objects.
Founded in 2015, Ghost Robotics introduced its Vision 60 robotic dog in 2019, followed by Spirit 40 in February 2020. Even then, Boston Dynamics suspected patent infringements. Ghost Robotics was asked in writing in July of the same year to check their robots – especially Vision 60 – with regard to the patents existing at the time. Two cease and desist letters sent to Ghost Robotics, in which the company was asked to stop marketing the robots due to patent infringements, came to nothing. The lawsuit that has now been filed is intended to create certainty. Boston Dynamics is also seeking damages, including interest, for the period before and after the judges’ pending verdict.