Ouster, Inc., a preeminent supplier of high-performance lidar sensors serving various industries including automotive, industrial, robotics, and smart infrastructure, has announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to launch an investigation. This is in response to the alleged unfair trade practices of Shanghai-based Hesai Group and its related entities.
Why It Matters
The ITC investigation will focus on Hesai Group’s purported unlawful importation of lidar sensors that seemingly infringe upon five valid patents owned by Ouster. These patents pertain directly to advanced lidar technology, making this issue crucial for both entities involved. The prompt for this investigation comes as a direct result of a complaint submitted by Ouster on April 11, 2023. In its complaint, Ouster requested the ITC issue a limited exclusion and cease-and-desist order against Hesai and related entities. This would effectively bar the importation of any Hesai lidar devices, components, or products allegedly infringing Ouster’s patents.
Hesai has previously faced numerous patent infringement claims, underscoring the gravity of the current situation. Conversely, Ouster boasts one of the most extensive patent families in the lidar industry, with its patents deemed valid and enforceable. The company has expressed its intention to continue enforcing its patents until the allegedly infringing products are prevented from entry into the U.S. market. Within the forthcoming two months, the administrative law judge assigned to this case is expected to establish a target date for concluding the investigation.
Ouster’s CEO, Angus Pacala, has expressed confidence in their claim against Hesai, and expressed satisfaction at the ITC’s decision to initiate an investigation. Pacala emphasized the importance of addressing what he described as a consistent pattern of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies. According to him, such practices undermine U.S. innovation and have a weakening effect on the domestic industry, particularly concerning vital and emerging technologies like lidar. Ouster aims to robustly confront these issues, signaling a significant step in defending U.S. tech innovation and maintaining fair competition on the global stage.