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After trade secrets, Uber and Waymo now fight over nature of arbitration

13 April 2017

Uber is scoffing at claims that its expansion into self-driving cars hinges on trade secrets stolen from a Google spinoff, arguing that its ride-hailing service has been working on potentially superior technology. Levandowski subsequently went on to co-found self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber acquired past year for $660m.

Levandowski is now in charge of developing self-driving cars at Uber. It followed a Monday order from U.S. District Judge William Alsup, ruling Levandowski couldn't use his Fifth Amendment right to.

On May 3rd, according to Axios, the court will hear arguments from both sides regarding Waymo's request for a court injunction to halt Uber's work on self-driving vehicles while the lawsuit is ongoing.

Nevertheless, Uber does admit that it has found itself in a tricky legal position, because Levandowski has asserted his right to remain silent regarding the allegation that he downloaded 14,000 Waymo files before becoming an Uber employee. Waymo doesn't believe them.

The case doesn't look great for Uber, however. "Nor is this an employment dispute between Waymo and Mr. Levandowski", reads the opposition. "You're not denying it, no one is denying he has the 14,000 files", Alsup said.

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"Uber does not like what the public is learning through this litigation about Uber's illegal and unfair competition", the latest filing said. Meanwhile, Uber would be starting its preparation for its defense against the allegations by Waymo on Friday.

Boehmke worked alongside engineers who came from Tyto Lidar LLC, a company that joined Uber with Levandowski.

Uber insists that its own lidar system was developed by a different team, using a different beam pattern, and leveraging different know-how. 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".

Till date, Uber is not being able to prove or justify its defense against Waymo's allegations and didn't co-operate with the USA district court with the orders related to searching for the 14,00 files in their database system.

Carnegie Mellon collaboration Uber says that it began establishing its own engineering group for autonomous vehicle development in February 2015, when it agreed a partnership with academics at Carnegie Mellon University, establishing a dedicated research center in Pittsburgh.

After trade secrets, Uber and Waymo now fight over nature of arbitration