back to article What's that, Lassie? Boston Dynamics is suing its robot dog tech rival?

Robotics company Boston Dynamics is suing a rival that has been testing four-legged robot tech at a US Air Force Base, claiming that two of Ghost Robotics' quad-legged unmanned ground vehicles infringe on seven of Boston's patents. The complaint [PDF] includes photos snapped at 2020 and 2021 tests conducted by the US Air Force …

  1. xyz Silver badge


    But can it lick its balls?

    1. TimMaher Silver badge

      Re: Aye,

      Hence the old joke:-

      Bloke “I wish I could do that.”

      Dogs owner “Give him a biscuit and maybe he’ll lat you.”

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Aye,

      Been there! It's always just that one vertebrae stopping you making it there right?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    four legs gooooood

    competition baaaaaaaad

  3. ITS Retired

    Like some robot company developed a robot the could imitate a human gait, then sued the human race for walking like their robot? There is often one best, efficient way to do something. Maybe both these robot makers found out the same thing independently?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fair, but probably irrelevant

      While that would get them out from under the willful part of the infringement, once a patent is granted, just having arrived at the same result isn't a defense for infringement. They would have needed to have achieved the results BEFORE the date of the work in the patent application to claim prior art. It appears that when Boston was publishing you tube videos of it's work, these people were still in high school.

      That's the breaks for trying to sell militarized knock-offs. But it also shows Boston Dynamics had as having shifted to a litigation based business model, as their hardware sales are hardly going to recoup their investors money on their own.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Fair, but probably irrelevant

        If you want your patent on walking to stand up in court, you'll first have to demonstrate that Nature didn't beat you to it by millions of years.

        At least, that would be how any sane country dealt with this. Sigh...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Fair, but probably irrelevant

          "If you want your patent on walking to stand up in court,"

          I saw what you did there!!

          1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

            Re: Fair, but probably irrelevant

            And now they are running into legal troubles.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: Fair, but probably irrelevant

              I'm just going to stroll away from this marathon of bad puns; preferably to a pub to get one of these. ----->

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      It's like using the same wind tunnel and CFD software to create the most aerodynamic shape. It will be similar.

    3. EricB123 Bronze badge


      Why not just patent a dog and be done with it?

  4. Plest Silver badge

    Really, going to court?

    Just get them both into a robot fighting arena, last one standing wins! Simples!

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: Really, going to court?

      But only if Craig Charles commentates

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really, going to court?

        Wait, not Dara Ó Briain?


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Territorial Dogs

    BD already released Spot's control software as open source in early 2021. [Github boston-dynamics / spot-sdk ]. Which I thought was very open minded.

    By late 2021 Xiaomi's CyberDog was already available in the US, for a much lower price than spot.

    Maybe the difference with Ghost is it is aiming at the type of rich US customers to which BD assumed it had exclusive access?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Territorial Dogs

      It was probably bad for Boston Dynamics to stay for many years at Google. It probably put a stop to going after military contracts, so now predictably other people are filling the demand.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. AVR


    If you take a look at US patent 11073842 it's hard to see any innovation. It doesn't describe how the robot generates a map of the stairs and climbs up or down it so much as it tries to write general enough language that any means of a legged robot (with a front-mounted camera) detecting and climbing stairs would be covered. Obviously Boston Dynamics have done this, but the means isn't in the patent. Using this patent offensively is being a patent troll.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Cock a leg

    Ghost Robotics should program its dogs to cock a leg - and patent that

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cock a leg

      Hmm, wouldn't you at some point run out of hydraulic fluid?

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