Waymo is Demanding $2.6 Billion from Uber for a Stolen Trade Secret

Andrew Cummings
September 22, 2017

Alphabet was in court with Uber to convince a judge to delay the October 10 trial in its self-driving lawsuit against the ride-hail company.

Waymo is seeking $2.6 billion in damages for just one of the nine self-driving vehicle trade secrets it claims Uber misappropriated, lawyers disclosed at a hearing in federal court in San Francisco.

Lawyers for Waymo say that Anthony Levandowski, who was head of Uber's self-driving auto project, illegally downloaded more than 14,000 files just before he left his job at Google.

Waymo's lawyers on Wednesday also asked Alsup to delay the trial until December 5, to give them more time to go through Uber's due-diligence report.

Waymo's legal advisors, who set aside time to consider whether to endeavor to keep the number private, declared that the number depends on Waymo and Uber reports that were showcased lawyers' eyes only.

Pushing for a delay in commencement of trial, Waymo filed a fresh court appeal last Saturday, along with relevant portions of the diligence report for reference. Uber has not made a statement or clarified its stance over Waymo's latest appeal.

In an explosive lawsuit that made headlines late February, Waymo alleged that Levandowski, who is now vice-president at Uber, stole 14,000 - or 9.7 GB of data - before leaving the folds of the company.

Waymo offered more evidence of use Wednesday, saying Levandowski accessed confidential Waymo information while he was at Otto, before it was acquired by Uber. According to the company, the "stolen data" comprised trade secrets, patents, and proprietary LIDAR system.

Waymo said additional depositions, including those of Levandowski and Uber's ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, would have to be completed now that the due diligence report and other files have been disclosed to Waymo.

Uber dismissed the allegation as baseless, hinging its argument on a contract clause with Levandowski that stated that any future cases between Uber and Levandowski's former employer be settled in arbitration.

Uber's lawyers argued that Levandowski could have downloaded the Waymo documents accidentally - when an employee first accesses Waymo's SVN, documents are automatically downloaded to his or her computer.

The case pits two companies battling to dominate the fast-growing field of self-driving cars.

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