Alphabet's lawsuit against Uber will go to trial

Waymo scored two victories in its autonomous trade secrets fight vs. Uber on Thursday

Waymo scored two victories in its autonomous trade secrets fight vs. Uber on Thursday

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco also partially granted Alphabet's self-driving Waymo unit's bid for an injunction against Uber's self-driving efforts, and rejected Uber's arguments that Waymo's trade secret allegations should proceed in private arbitration. Uber's lawyers, according to Judge Alsup, said in a footnote that the California decision did not contradict "the holding and rationale" of the federal-court opinion. It also compounds Uber's other legal problems, he said in an interview Friday. "The focus of the federal investigation would be how high did awareness of this activity go within Uber management?" Alsup refers the USA attorney to his order agreeing to Waymo's motion for provisional relief - in the order he granted a partial restriction on Uber's driverless auto program - for the "evidentiary record", but he also chose to seal that order.

Uber did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Representatives for the Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could attorneys for Levandowski.

The lawsuit centers around whether Anthony Levandowski, who used to work at Google's self-driving auto division (now known as Waymo) and had led Uber's self-driving ambitions, left the company with trade secrets.

Levandowski is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but he had asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to turn over documents relating to the case.

It is up to the US Attorney whether or not to take up the case, so a prosecution is far from certain. "He's a target", said Heaphy, the former United States attorney.

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We don't know what the judge's reasoning for possible criminal prosecution is.

Experts believe an investigation is likely, which will cost money and time that Uber investors may not be willing to support. "There are lots of trade-secret cases filed and litigated everyday; it's the most common type of IP case". Waymo claims that Uber gained an unfair advantage by getting Lidar files that Levandowsky allegedly stole before leaving the company.

Uber told Alsup that it wanted the same "distinguished" panel of arbitrators handling those proceedings to decide the merits of Waymo's allegations against Uber that Levandowski downloaded and stole 14,000 Waymo files. A case synopsis said the judge granted part of Waymo's request but also denied part. Waymo said Uber used its tech to avoid years of costly research. I'm very glad I'm not Anthony Levandowski. Certainly, the question of who knew what and when does seem to be wafting about.

"Indeed, it appears Waymo can make out its case-in-chief without any reference to either agreement", he wrote in refusing to compel arbitration.

Uber said in a statement to AFP that it would not comment on the injunction, adding that "the order is now under seal so we can't speculate about what it says".

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