Patent portfolio of Luminar Technologies

A project log for open hardware fast high resolution LASER

bringing additive manufacturing to the next level

HexastormHexastorm 12/05/2020 at 12:490 Comments

Austin Russell is the world's youngest self made billionaire at age 25. Mr. Russell founded Luminar Technologies, trades a Nasdaq under LAZR, a company which builds Lidar scanners for cars.
Luminar's lidar scanners use a combination of a rotating polygon mirror with a galvo mirror. The laser source uses a wavelength of 1550 nm. This allows one to use a higher laser power without risking damaging the retina.
Luminar currently has a good patent position in the US market and a very weak one in the European market.

Pulsed laser for Lidar system: US 10520602 B2, US10012732B2
Group of patents which protect the laser source used in a Lidar system. Luminar seems to have a monopoly on using laser sources between 1400-1600 nm and repetition rates up to 100 MHz.
In Europe patents were filed under the numbers, EP3411660A1 up to A4. These have all been rejected due to lack of novelty. Personally, I think it is strange the US patents got accepted.
There was already prior by Trimble, see my earlier post, this system also operates a wavelength of 1600 nm and has an even larger scanning range. It was announced at Intergeo in 2016.

Low profile lidar scanner with polygon mirror: US10571567B2
Patent which protects a certain embodiment which uses a rotating polygon mirror with a galvo mirror.
No patent seems to have been filed in Europe.

Group of software patents; US10627521B2, US10209359B2, US10254762B2
There is a collection of US patents which protects scan patterns, adaptive pulse patterns and monitoring the vibration of the car to improve the scan patterns. Software is not directly patentable in Europe.

Plurality of digital converters; US10267918B2
Still pending in Europe under a different title under number EP3602128A1-A4, search report requires amendment before April 2021. It seems likely that it will result in some sort of patent.

Pulse Encoding; US10545240B2 
Still pending in Europe, search report was not positive see EP3602112A1

I have looked into a lot of patents of Luminar Technologies, but couldn't find a single one which is accepted in Europe yet. Most patents are rejected, maybe one or two will be accepted in a much weaker form.  So far, building and selling your own car Lidar scanner in Europe still seems possible in the US, a non-free nation with respect to Lidar scanning, you would face many legal problems