Uber denies stealing Google technology

Posted April 13, 2017

A lawsuit filed in February of this year claimed that former Google employee Andrew Levandowski had stolen 14,000 documents relating to the company's work on LiDAR, a key technology in driverless cars.

Alphabet alleges that Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 files from its self-driving auto wing before he left in January 2016 to start the autonomous trucking company Otto, which was purchased by Uber in August for $680 million.

Alsup has warned that he may issue an order barring Levandowski from involvement in Uber's self-driving auto division if he sides with Waymo.

Waymo had asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to stop Uber's driverless-car project until the case is settled.

Google and Uber are two of the leading tech firms in the race to develop fully autonomous cars, with both companies already testing vehicles in several states across the US. Waymo doesn't believe them.

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Waymo alleges Levandowski plotted his betrayal to Uber while he was still an executive at the Google unit. Alphabet's opposition suggested Uber is seeking to delay proceedings, including a hearing on an injunction Alphabet wants against Uber and to prevent public access to proceedings.

"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.

"The record shows that Uber never possessed - and never used - any information Mr. Levandowski allegedly took from Waymo", Uber wrote in its filing.

"You're not denying it, no one is denying he has the 14,000 files".

Lidar sensors bounce light off objects to create a three-dimensional map of a car's surroundings.

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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.

Waymo says its suspicions were bolstered when it learned Otto told the Nevada motor vehicles department in September that its self-driving trucks relied on a custom lidar system. 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".

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.

Uber filed its response (pdf) at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division on Friday, April 7.

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