Uber's Levandowski fights full disclosure over Waymo secrets

Waymo's attorneys assert that not only do Uber's attorneys have sufficient access to Levandowski to retrieve these files, but that Uber is liable for his actions, since the company would have benefited from any trade secrets the executive allegedly brought to the competing ride-hail company from Alphabet.

Levandowski helped establish Google as an early leader in self-driving cars, earning him more than $120 million in incentive pay, according to information inadvertently revealed in court papers earlier this week.

Waymo rebutted Uber's defense Friday in an emailed statement.

SAN FRANCISCO Uber Technologies Inc said on Friday its self-driving sensor technology was "fundamentally different" from Waymo's, blasting the Alphabet Inc unit's claim that it profited from stolen files in the race to roll out the first driverless vehicle.


At a recent court hearing, held in private but leaked to the press, Mr Levandowski invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, a constitutional clause that allows United States citizens to resist any request to share information that could put them at risk of self-incrimination.

Uber's court filings were heavily redacted to avoid exposing technical details, and the company has asked the court to file the unredacted materials under seal.

The judge also has said he plans to order Uber to allow experts to examine its LiDAR sensors to see how they measure up against Waymo's technology.

"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", says Uber's Angela Padilla. Waymo is also showing how the design for Uber's LiDAR setup is very close to what Waymo is using, especially when it comes to the single lens design. In a previous filing, Uber said it searched Levandowski's computer, in addition to two other former Alphabet employees named in the suit, and the computers of "randomly selected" employees as part of its inquiry.


"Uber's assertion that they've never touched the 14,000 stolen files is disingenuous at best, given their refusal to look in the most obvious place: the computers and devices owned by the head of their self-driving program", a Waymo spokesperson said in a statement. Waymo has since taken them to court, and the Judge has ordered Uber's lawyers to find those files.

An alleged scheme by Levandowski and other former Google employees to steal technology is at the centre of a seven-week-old battle between Uber and Waymo in the US District Court in San Francisco. However, Uber was quick to distance itself from the issue and deny culpability, saying the documents were not found on Uber's computers. Indeed, the same attorneys representing Uber also represent Mr. Levandowski personally in the Levandowski arbitration, and these attorneys presently argue (without support) that this suit should be merged with that arbitration.

An Uber spokesman says the company only produced those 900 documents after it conducted what it calls an "extensive search", because it doesn't believe it has the files and can't force its employees to turn over personal property. You have got to do more than what you are telling me. Maybe you will, maybe you will. Or how can he take the Fifth Amendment?

He added: "This is an extraordinary case".



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