UGV Vendors Take National Security Dispute to Court

Robotics Business Review

Two prominent unmanned ground vehicle, or UGV, suppliers to the U.S. military have traded charges of foreign influence and defamation.

Robo-Team NA Inc. has filed a complaint against Endeavor Robotics claiming that Endeavor defamed it while lobbying the U.S. Congress.

Robo-Team alleges that its competitor’s representatives raised concerns that Robo-Team has raised millions of dollars from Chinese investors. Endeavor’s representatives have said that such fund-raising was a matter of public record and that its communications with legislators are protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

UGV leaders in legal dispute

Robo-Team has headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., and Tel Aviv, Israel. The company was recently named a “Best Employer for Veterans” by Military Times. In March, Tech Crunch reported that the UGV maker had raised money from Chinese investors for development of home robots.

Military UGV from Endeavor Robotics

U.S. soldiers train with Endeavor Robotics’ PackBot in Afghanistan.

Chelmsford, Mass.-based Endeavor Robotics was spun out of iRobot Corp. in 2016 and produces UGVs and a variety of robots for surveillance, law enforcement, and defense applications. Last fall, it teamed up with defense contractor Leidos Inc. for the U.S. Navy Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System Increment 2 and 3 Program.

Paul Werner, a partner at Chicago-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, is the lead litigator for Endeavor Robotics. He filed a motion to dismiss the complaint last week with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Werner answered the following questions from Robotics Business Review:

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