Waymo injunction claim is a "misfire", says Uber

Posted April 13, 2017

Uber is scoffing at claims that its expansion into self-driving cars hinges on trade secrets stolen from a Google spinoff, arguing that its ride-hailing service has been working on potentially superior technology. He and two other Waymo employees are accused of downloading thousands of confidential files, including lidar circuit board designs, before he left Waymo past year and launched his own robocar startup, Otto, that was acquired by Uber for $680 million.

"To the extent Uber tries to excuse its noncompliance on the grounds that Mr. Levandowski has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to provide Uber with documents or assistance, Waymo notes that Mr. Levandowski remains - to this day - an Uber executive and in charge of its self-driving vehicle program".

Uber has denied stealing self-driving technology from Google, as it attempts to convince a United States judge not to grant an injunction barring the use of the tech in its vehicles.

"Right now the record available to the court under oath is pretty convincing that Mr. Levandowski downloaded 14,000 documents, wiped his computer clean, transferred those documents to a thumb drive and took that thumb drive with him when he went to start a new company". It doesn't even possess thousands of files of proprietary information Waymo says it stole and wouldn't need them to advance its own self-driving vehicle program, as it's relying on an in-house design with radically different features than Waymo's, according to a court filing. "Anthony Levandowski is not a defendant in this case. You're not denying it, no one is denying he has the 14,000 files", Alsup said. In its defense, Uber said it began its lidar development in 2015, before Levandowski joined, and with staff that didn't come from Waymo. The first is a company called Odin Wave - which Waymo alleges that Levandowski is the owner of - and the second is Tyto Lidar, which Otto acquired in May of 2016. "You haven't searched well enough", he told Uber's lawyer at a hearing on Wednesday. In a statement, Uber's associate general counsel Angela Padilla said: "Waymo's injunction motion is a misfire: There is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber's servers, and Waymo's assertion that our multi-lens LiDAR is the same as their single-lens LiDAR is clearly false". "Uber is the defendant in this case, and Uber is responsible for its misconduct".

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Till date, Uber is not being able to prove or justify its defense against Waymo's allegations and didn't co-operate with the U.S. district court with the orders related to searching for the 14,00 files in their database system.

Before Levandowski defected from Google early previous year start Otto, Waymo alleges he downloaded more than 14,000 documents containing trade secrets that is now helping Uber.

"Uber made sure to have policies and practices in place to prevent misappropriation, and these measures have worked", the suit said.