After trade secrets, Uber and Waymo now fight over nature of arbitration

Uber says Waymo’s preliminary injunction claim is a ‘misfire

Currently, more than 40 ex-Google employees are working in Uber's Self-driving vehicle unit and Uber has selected 7 employees excluding those 3 employees mentioned in the complaint lodged by Waymo to investigate their systems and database to check for those stolen 14,000 files by Levandowski.

On March 13, WIPR reported that Uber and its self-driving truck company Otto were accused of misappropriating and infringing Waymo's LiDAR, a laser-based scanning and mapping technology.

"Waymo could not be more wrong, and Uber's design could not be more different", Uber's lawyers wrote in their rebuttal to the allegations. According to Waymo, Uber was completely aware of the Mr. Levandowski's stealing of the documents.

In a letter filed publicly to Judge William Aslup, Waymo's attorney says that Uber's search for the documents was "willfully" limited and insufficient, and did not include an investigation of the personal devices of Levandowski, now a VP of engineering.

In a court filing with heavily redacted technological details, Uber adds that by late 2015 it had chose to develop a customized lidar system with an unspecified collaborator, and began work on a custom beam pattern. Instead, the company says it has been relying on LiDAR systems built by other vendors.

Uber may have its work cut out to sway Alsup, who has said in previous court hearings that Waymo has presented some of the strongest evidence he has seen in his judicial career. It has argued for arbitration on grounds that the lawsuit stems from the actions of Levandowski while he was with Alphabet, and so should be covered by Alphabet's employee agreement with him.

"Uber's conduct plainly is created to delay the expedited proceedings ordered by this Court and stonewall Waymo's request for preliminary relief", the court filing reads.




Levandowski helped establish Google as an early leader in self-driving cars, earning him more than $120 million in incentive pay, according to information inadvertently revealed in court papers earlier this week.

Waymo sued Uber in February, seeking a preliminary injunction to stop it from using trade secrets and other intellectual property at the center of the case.

After buying Otto, Uber put Levandowski in charge of Uber's self-driving project, a job that has been imperiled by this lawsuit.

Waymo's defense came in the form of a mistaken email with attached blue print of its technology of self driving cars.

Nevertheless, Uber does admit that it has found itself in a tricky legal position, because Levandowski has asserted his right to remain silent regarding the allegation that he downloaded 14,000 Waymo files before becoming an Uber employee.

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