Uber
Although the move is reportedly considered a minor victory for Uber, Waymo has not entirely withdrawn its claimsReuters/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

Waymo, Google's parent company Alphabet Inc's self-driving division, has dropped most of its patent infringement claims against Uber in its ongoing lawsuit with the embattled ride-hailing firm.

Waymo has dismissed three of its four patent claims in its lawsuit against Uber, which alleges that the ride-hailing firm stole Waymo's self-driving trade secrets.

Although the move is reportedly considered a minor victory for Uber, Waymo has not entirely withdrawn its claims that Uber misappropriated and copied its primary self-driving technology, called LiDAR.

Instead, Waymo dropped the claims since Uber has already stopped using Lidar. However, the company reserves the right to bring back the claims again in future, in the event that Uber begins using its own versions of LiDAR, called Spider and Fuji.

"Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that [Spider] device, so we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device, with the right to re-file suit if needed," a Waymo spokesperson told ArsTechnica.

"Waymo's retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver," a spokesperson for Uber said, according to Recode.

"Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber's LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs.

"Faced with this hard truth, Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance," the spokesperson said.

The judge overseeing the case, William Alsup, had previously indicated that he believed Waymo may lose the case.

During a hearing in June, Alsup said, "I want to reiterate to the plaintiff here that you should think a lot about just dropping the patent part of this case. And instead of making them go through the pain and suffering of answering all those contentions on the patent side of the case.

"But I'm not ordering that. I'm just saying that. I'm reiterating what I said earlier."

Reuters reported that US Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled on Friday (7 July) that Waymo must also disclose all documents related to its partnership with Lyft, adding that the information could be significant in the case.