US: Velodyne LiDAR, the world’s largest producer of LiDAR has filed patent infringement complaints against Suteng (Robosense) and Hesai for stealing its IP. According to complaint filed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday, the company said that these two Chinese companies have threatened Velodyne and its business by copying its flagship LiDAR configuration that allow vehicles to see their surroundings by bouncing lasers off objects.
Velodyne has pointed out the similarities between its product structures and data capture technologies and those marketed by Robosense and Hesai. The complaints are identical.
In its complaints, Velodyne said both Robosense and Hesai have been selling products that infringe on multiple aspects of US Patent No. 7,969,558 (High Definition LiDAR System), which was awarded to Velodyne’s founder David Hall in 2011.
On information and belief, Robosense copied Velodyne’s products, including the VLP-16, and actively promotes the sale, use, and importation of its infringing rotating 3-D LiDAR devices in marketing materials, technical specifications, data sheets, web pages on its website, press releases, and user manuals, as well as at trade shows and through its sales and distribution channels that encourage infringing offers to sell, sales, and/or importation of the Accused Products. These actions collectively demonstrate that Robosense has had the specific intent to induce, or was willfully blind to inducing, infringement of the 558 patent.
Velodyne has asked the court to stop both Hesai and Robosense from selling the alleged copied products, which include all the major LiDAR products listed on the Chinese companies’ sites. Hesai didn’t respond to multiple calls and messages requesting comment.
In a statement to Quartz, Robosense said Velodyne is only targeting a few items sold in the US. The lawsuit won’t affect the company’s sales plan globally. “Suteng will persist with researching and developing core technology,” said the statement.
WeRide, a Guangzhou-based self-driving company which also has a Silicon Valley office, has been using both Velodyne and Hesai’s lidar, said it’s refraining from commenting on the complaints, but said its road tests aren’t affected.