Hesai Group said it will “vigorously defend itself” against allegations of patent infringement by Ouster, a rival company.
The Shanghai lidar maker is facing a patent-infringement lawsuit and a U.S. International Trade Commission complaint by Ouster, a San Francisco lidar maker. Ouster says Hesai stole information from five of its lidar patents, while Hesai’s response claims its designs and technology are original.
“We believe Ouster’s complaints are deeply flawed and lack merit,” said Yifan David Li, Hesai’s CEO, in a statement released Monday. “We invest heavily in proprietary research and development. We have more than 700 staff working in our R&D and manufacturing teams.”
Ouster asked the International Trade Commission to investigate imports of Hesai lidar sensors that the company says infringe on its patents, and is seeking a cease-and-desist order to bar the import of those products to the U.S. Ouster also sued for patent infringement in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, asking for monetary damages and an injunction.
Hesai previously settled a patent case with Velodyne, a lidar maker that merged with Ouster in February, by paying “millions” over patents in Germany, China and the U.S. in 2020, according to Ouster.
Hesai did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Angus Pacala, Ouster’s CEO, said in a statement that the company is “confident in our patent infringement claim against Hesai” and intends to “vigorously enforce our IP until the infringing products are barred.”
Pacala previously told Automotive News that Hesai’s March public offering and related filings copied Ouster’s plans.
“It’s insane it’s being allowed,” he said.
The legal fight between Ouster and Hesai comes as the federal government attempts to fight technology thefts connected to China. President Joe Biden signed the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act in January to beef up consequences for companies that steal American intellectual property.
“In China and other countries across the globe, foreign corporations are working — often in coordination with authoritarian regimes — to steal our cutting-edge technologies to gain unfair advantages at America’s expense,” said Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, in a statement.
About 80 percent of the Department of Justice’s economic espionage prosecutions through 2021 alleged conduct that would benefit the Chinese state, the department said.