Boston Dynamics sues Ghost Robotics over robot dog patent infringements


If you know anything about Ghost Robotics, it’s likely one of two things: 1) They make robot dogs. 2) Sniper rifles can be mounted to those robots. A majority of the Philadelphia firm’s press coverage has revolved around these facts, along with some coverage of its systems being used to patrol the U.S. border.

That last bit was enough to grab the attention of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted:

It’s shameful how both parties fight tooth + nail to defend their ability to pump endless public money into militarization. From tanks in police depts to corrupt military contracts, funding this violence is bipartisan + non-controversial, yet healthcare + housing isn’t. It’s BS.

Ghost has thus far not demonstrated any manner of ethical qualms when it comes to its work with military and law enforcement — but it’s the company’s product design that could ultimately get it in hot water. Boston Dynamics filed a suit in the Delaware court system on November 11, alleging Ghost of infringing on multiple patents.

“Boston Dynamics’ early success with the Spot robot did not go unnoticed by competitors in the robotics industry, including Ghost Robotics,” the suit notes. It goes on to call out two specific models, Vision 60 and Spirit 40, both “dog”-style quadrupeds.

While Boston Dynamics tells TechCrunch it doesn’t comment on pending legislation (understandable), it adds:

Innovation is the lifeblood of Boston Dynamics, and our roboticists have successfully filed approximately 500 patents and patent applications worldwide. We welcome competition in the emerging mobile robotics market, but we expect all companies to respect intellectual property rights, and we will take action when those rights are violated.

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