Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case

  • Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case

Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case

In a court filing entered on Friday, Uber said it began designing a component of its self-driving system almost a year before hiring Anthony Levandowski, the former Waymo engineer at the center of the lawsuit who's accused of stealing 14,000 files before launching his self-driving truck start-up Otto.

The court filing on Friday comes in response to Waymo's request last month for a federal judge to halt Uber's self-driving vehicle efforts.

Levandowski is now the head of Uber's self-driving department. (LIDAR standards for light detection and ranging, a remote sensing mechanism used in autonomous vehicles).

Uber makes much of the fact that its LIDAR uses four lenses, while Waymo's technology uses a single lens.

Waymo rebutted Uber's defense Friday in an emailed statement. Uber acquired Otto shortly afterward, and now Waymo says part of Uber's LiDAR system bears a suspicious resemblance to Waymo's own. Waymo said Uber benefited from those documents and has sued for damages and to stop Uber from using the technology Levandowski allegedly stole. And it provided testimony from Scott Boehmke, who began developing the company's own LiDAR systems in 2015. It also claims that Levandowski and Lior Ron, another Otto co-founder who previously worked for Google, allegedly poached Google employees using confidential information, such as salaries and compensation packages.

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.

Waymo offered a different take on Tyto's origins in a court filing this week: It said Levandowski secretly formed Tyto in 2014 while he was working for Waymo. As Jalopnik reported this week, from the outset of Levandowski's departure, he was immediately entwined with Uber, which proposed purchasing Otto just two months after Levandowski started the company.

"These matters are often made more complicated by other factors, such as cross-claims or third party litigation, unexpected testimony or evidence, market events, or insolvency", Brophy said.

In its opposition, Uber's lawyers take aim at almost every aspect of Google's lawsuit.

The ride-hail giant also filed three additional documents with its response. In court on Wednesday, Uber lawyer Arturo Gonzalez said the company had been working hard to find evidence that Waymo's documents were in Uber's possession, but could not find anything material.

"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", Angela Padilla associate general counsel at Uber, said in a statement. That means he isn't cooperating in the search.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup warned in court recently he was unimpressed by Levandowski's rights claim.

In response to Uber's court reply on Friday, a Waymo spokesperson said the company based its request for the judge to halt Uber's self-driving auto program "based on clear evidence".

More specifically, after conducting a search, Uber argues the files never touched its servers.