Boston Dynamics and Ghost Robotics have been offering four-legged robots to consumers for a few years now—although neither of these companies has ever equipped their product with a sniper rifle. Apparently, however, turning your square robot into a killing machine isn’t enough to stop a legal battle, TechCrunch and elsewhere that Boston Dynamics has filed a lawsuit against Ghost Robotics alleging multiple patent infringements.
According to legal documents filed on November 11, Boston Dynamics is accusing its competitor of copying seven patents for “key technology” related to Spot, the robot four-legged of the petitioner company. “Boston Dynamics’ early success with the Spot robot has not been ignored by competitors in the robotics industry, including Ghost Robotics,” said part of the filing, citing the square footage of Ghost Robotics’ Vision 60 and Spirit 40. Boston Dynamics also says it sent Ghost a request to review its patents over the summer, after several cease and desist letters went unanswered.
[Related: Boston Dynamics gave its dog-like robot a charging dock and an arm on its head.]
As TechCrunch Also note that, although Boston Dynamics has previously sold products to law enforcement agencies such as the New York Police Department (although that partnership ended last year), each robot is still opposed. Last month, the company added its name to an open letter criticizing the practice, alongside companies including Clearpath Robotics and ANYbotics. “We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously controlled, accessible to the public, and capable of navigating inaccessible areas where people live and work, new problems of harm and serious ethical issues arise,” reads part of the letter. “The weapons applications of these new-age robots will undermine public trust in technology in ways that undermine the enormous benefits they bring to society.”
Compare this to Ghost Robotics, whose CEO previously promised, “We will not tell our government customers how to use the robots” shortly after releasing one of its robots. aforementioned four-legged and SWORD Defense Systems Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR). ) posted on a trade show.
Ghost Robotics has not responded to the allegations at the time of writing.