Waymo Alleges Uber Created A Fake Company To Steal Their Secrets

Uber in US court reckoning on possible shutdown of self-driving programme

Uber in US court reckoning on possible shutdown of self-driving programme

Uber awarded Levandowski 5 million shares of company stock, worth $250 million, the day after he quit Waymo. They also pointed out state records that show Otto was acquired in July 2016, after being founded months before.

Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven said it was circumstantial evidence of bad intent by Levandowski and Uber. The spokesman added that shares would only vest when certain milestones were met, which they haven't yet. However, Alsup had not completely bought in, noting that Waymo had sued Uber and not Levandowski personally. His question: What if Uber didn't know Levandowski stole those documents?

Waymo filed the explosive lawsuit in late February, claiming that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer and current vice president at Uber, had stolen 14,000 confidential documents - or 9.7 gigabytes of data - before leaving Google.

Google's role as the plaintiff is a rare one for an intellectual-property case. If Alsup issues a broadly worded order against Uber, it could all but shut down Uber's self-driving vehicle program while court proceedings continue. A redaction mistake in a recent filing revealed that Lior Ron, Levandowski's co-founder in Otto, has also been implicated in the lawsuit.

Uber doesn't dispute Levandowski downloaded the 14,000 files (although it claims none of those documents entered its servers).

Uber, represented by outside lawyer Arturo Gonzalez, denied any wrongdoing, as it always has. Then he attached an external drive to his laptop and spent eight hours downloading files, said Verhoeven.

"Nothing prevented that from happening", but there's no proof it did, Gonzalez said.

In the fight over the future of self-driving vehicles, a bare-knuckled brawl between Uber and Waymo is coming to a head.

Finally, we might see Travis Kalanick, Uber's chief executive, take the stand.

That's in spite of the fact that Levandowski - still an executive at Uber - has asserted his Fifth Amendment rights and has now recused himself from work on all lidar-related operations at Uber.

However, the company was not been able to search the personal devices of Mr Levandowski, who has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights - a constitutional clause that allows USA citizens to resist any request to share information that could put them at risk of self-incrimination.

The decision to grant an injunction, then, might come down to adverse inference.

"It's no more lidar for you, until this trial is over", said Gonzalez. The ride-hail company further contends that Alphabet is only asking for this to be applied because the company has provided no other evidence that Uber is in possession of or is using any stolen files.

Uber countered that under the law, Waymo must offer hard proof that Uber has illegally used or is about to use genuine trade secrets, and that its rival has fallen well short of that mark.

Accusations of theft, conspiracies and withholding evidence were flying during a contentious hearing between Uber and Alphabet's Waymo in San Francisco on Wednesday. However, he was not convinced whether or not Uber actually used any trade secrets from Waymo.

The hearing was expected to be the final court session before a federal judge decides whether to temporarily shut down Uber's work on self-driving cars.

The judge did not make a ruling from the bench on Wednesday.

"This is not your garden variety trade secrets case".

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