Competition in the robot dog market is getting ugly. As The Robot Report explains, Boston Dynamics is suing Ghost Robotics for allegedly infringing seven patents linked to its Spot quadruped. The Spirit 40 and Vision 60 (shown above) purportedly borrow key technologies from Spot, including systems for self-righting and climbing stairs.
Boston Dynamics says it asked Ghost Robotics to review Spot-related patents in July 2020, five months after the launch of the Spirit 40. After that, Boston claims to have sent two cease-and-desist letters asking Ghost to stop marketing its robot canines. Ghost was thus well aware of what it was doing, according to the lawsuit.
We've asked Ghost Robotics for comment. In a statement, Boston Dynamics claimed it "welcome[s] competition" but would crack down on companies violating its intellectual property rights. The Hyundai-owned firm is seeking unspecified damages as part of the suit.
A lawsuit like this isn't unexpected. Boston Dynamics initially focused on research, but it has increasingly turned to commercializing robots like Spot and Stretch. Rivals like Ghost Robotics could pose threats to Boston's still-young business, whether or not they're copying technology in the process. Even if the suit fails, it could deter other companies from making robot dogs of their own.
Update 11/17 4:51PM ET: Ghost Robotics has responded to the lawsuit. It accuses Boston Dynamics of filing an "obstructive and baseless" suit to stifle competition.