The U.S. District Judge overseeing the trade secret theft case between Alphabet’s self-driving car division and Uber is calling for a federal investigation into the matter.
Judge William Alsup on Thursday granted, in part, Waymo’s request for a preliminary injunction against Uber’s self-driving program, while denying Uber’s petition to compel arbitration, a more private and less expensive way to resolve the dispute.
Waymo, in a statement called Uber’s request “a desperate bid … to avoid the court’s jurisdiction.”
The judge, Reuters is reporting, filed his injunction opinion temporarily under seal, meaning specific details of the ruling are being kept under wraps.
What we do know, however, is Alsup’s rulings are bad news for Uber which will now have to defend itself in front of a judge and jury.
Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, has accused Uber, and its subsidiary Otto, of stealing elements of its lidar laser sensor technology. Waymo is alleging former employee Anthony Levandowski downloaded 14,000 “confidential and proprietary design” files relating to the company’s “LiDAR and circuit board” before resigning as the technical lead on Alphabet’s self-driving car division to found Otto — the self-driving transport company that, months later, was acquired by Uber for $680 million.
Levandowski has said he did download some files to enable him to work from home, but denied taking those files with him when he left to co-found Otto with Lior Ron, former product lead of Google Maps; former Google robotics program lead Claire Delaunay and Don Burnette, a former Google software engineer.
Despite the setbacks, Uber, in a statement to the media, said it is “confident in our case and welcome the chance to talk about our independently developed technology.”
Waymo said it is looking “forward to holding Uber responsible in court for its misconduct.”