Uber is refuting 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. After the alleged theft, Levandowski left Google early a year ago to found a self-driving vehicle startup called Otto that Uber bought for $680 million last August.
Uber is trying to persuade a judge not to issue an order that might stall the development of its autonomous driving technology, and possibly even sideline the head of the project, engineer Anthony Levandowski. Allegations are against Uber's head of self-driving vehicle unit Anthony Levandowski of stealing and illegally downloading 14,000 files based on which the company had set up their self-driving auto unit.
"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". Levandowski, meanwhile, has asserted his Fifth Amendment rights to protect himself if criminal charges are filed against him. Against which Uber attorney claims that they are working on it and didn't find any hits, which would prove Waymo's allegations to be true.
"You're not denying it, no one is denying he has the 14,000 files".
According to BBC, Uber also cried foul on the possible injunction to the fleet.
The case doesn't look great for Uber, however. As the filing states, Waymo has "not consented" to arbitrate the dispute, and that it can not "be coerced into arbitration simply because the trade secrets that Uber stole and that Uber is using in Uber's self-driving cars happen to come from former Waymo employees".
"Both of [the injunction motion's] central premises - that former Waymo employees brought thousands of confidential Waymo documents to Uber to build a copycat lidar, and that Uber's lidar closely mimics Waymo's single-lens design - are demonstrably false".
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.
On Monday, a federal judge in Alphabet's trade secrets lawsuit against Uber rejected a Fifth amendment plea, ordering that basic details of an August 2016 due diligence report be included in court documents, ReCode reports. "Ultimately, that would be harmful to the public".
Uber insists that its own lidar system was developed by a different team, using a different beam pattern, and leveraging different know-how.