Update on December 26, 2019: Anki’s assets have been acquired by edtech startup Digital Dream Labs. Read Story.
The patent portfolio for Anki, the once-popular consumer robotics company that closed in April 2019, is now up for sale. The sale includes patents and trademarks for the Overdrive, Cozmo, and Vector product lines. Hilco Streambank, which is handling the sale, will be accepting offer through November 21, 2019.
The physical assets inside Anki’s 40,000-square-foot office in San Francisco were auctioned off in June. The patent portfolio sale includes the following assets:
- 45 issued utility patents, including 35 US patents
- 11 published patent applications
- 39 pending patent applications
- 3 utility patents in the National Phase (PCT)
- 73 issued design patents
- Trademarks for Anki, Cozmo, Vector, Anki Overdrive, and product lines in development
- Anki.com domain name
Territories covered in the sale include the US, EU, China, Germany, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and more.
The Robot Report has covered this story extensively. To recap, Anki shut down despite raising about $200 million. Sources told The Robot Report Anki already had a prototype of its next consumer robot. However, a strategic partnership “fell through at the last minute” that could have bridged the gap to the next robot. Anki was also recently sued for patent infringement. Filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges Vector infringes on three audio-related patents from StretchTech.
Anki’s robots are still working at full capacity, according to many customers, so it’s still unclear what will happen going forward. Unfortunately, a look at this graphic below, which is part of a sales flyer for the patent portfolio sale, makes you really wonder where Anki went wrong.
A recent teardown video, however, shed light on the complex, costly, and manual manufacturing processes involved with building the Anki’s robot. Anki’s co-founders and employees have moved on, of course, and it’s time for customers to stop hoping for a miracle.
Two of Anki’s three Co-Founders have publicly acknowledged they have moved on from Anki. In August 2019, Hanns Tappeiner was named Director of Product Development at Apple’s Special Projects Group. A former Anki employee told The Robot Report Apple attended a makeshift career fair at Anki’s office days after employees found out it was going out of business. Apple scooped up several other former Anki employees, too.
Boris Sofman in June 2019 joined Waymo as its Director of Engineering, Head of Trucking. Sofman wrote at the time he was hired, “I’m honored to be joining the team to lead the autonomous trucking engineering effort. Joining me will be 12 of my former teammates from Anki who represent much of the initial technical team. We’ll be based out of Waymo’s San Francisco offices where we hope to grow the team in the years ahead.”
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