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Waymo vs Uber case goes to court
17 May 2017, 11:15 | Deanna Wagner
People outside the Uber offices in Queens New York U.S
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco also partially granted Waymo's bid for an injunction against Uber over its self-driving auto program.
Instead, Alsup sent it into the hands of the US Attorney to examine whether Uber broke the law, raising the prospect of a potential criminal investigation into the ride-hailing company. Uber's purchase of Otto was formally announced in August 2016. The Harvard Law graduate has experience in trials involving high-profile technology companies, including a 2012 patent and copyright infringement case pitting Oracle against Google. Uber doesn't deny that the downloads occurred, and Levandowski has asserted his 5th Amendment rather than answer questions.
The judge also granted Waymo a preliminary injunction against Uber, although information as to its effect has been kept confidential. Attorneys for Uber and Anthony Levandowski, the Google-turned-Uber executive at the center of the case, have repeatedly fought efforts to turn over some documents.
A federal judge has asked for a criminal justice review in the case brought by Alphabet self-driving vehicle unit Waymo accusing Uber of stealing its technology. "Waymo has honored its obligation to arbitrate against Levandowski by arbitrating its claims (concerning employee poaching) against Levandowksi". Waymo claims that Uber gained an unfair advantage by getting Lidar files that Levandowsky allegedly stole before leaving the company.
The lawsuit filed by Google spin-off Waymo mainly accuses Levandowski, a veteran of self-driving technology, of stealing trade secrets from Google.
Self-driving auto firm Waymo sued Uber over the alleged theft of more than 14,000 confidential files by former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski before he left the company. "We remain confident in our case and welcome the chance to talk about our independently developed technology in any forum", Uber said in a statement.
In putting the case forward to the US Attorney, the judge also denied a request by Uber which would have forced the lawsuit out of court and into arbitration.
"Indeed, it appears Waymo can make out its case-in-chief without any reference to either agreement", he wrote in refusing to compel arbitration. According to Alsup, Uber's claims that Waymo used all sorts of tricks to avoid arbitration by not listing Levandowski as a defendant were groundless.
Waymo contends that before leaving Google early previous year, Levandowski downloaded 14,000 documents containing details about a navigational tool called Lidar that robotic cars need to see what's around them. Uber attempted to move the case to arbitration to avoid a court hearing, but the proposal has been rejected.
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