USA judge says he will delay Uber-Waymo trade secrets trial

  • USA judge says he will delay Uber-Waymo trade secrets trial

USA judge says he will delay Uber-Waymo trade secrets trial

Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the centre of a lawsuit between Google and Uber, founded an organisation called Way of the Future, according to recently unearthed documents.

The 34-page report, which was compiled by cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg, seems to corroborate Waymo's suspicions that Otto founder Anthony Levandowski retained proprietary information about Google's self-driving vehicle technology when he left to start his own company. Other details reveal that Otto co-founder Lior Ron also met with Uber executives while he was still employed at Google, and he apparently accessed the login screen for Google's corporate intranet after he left the company, despite his claims to the contrary.

Waymo had submitted its request in light of a US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision which upheld a ruling that Waymo could see a confidential report written by risk management firm Stroz Friedberg. The report is expected to come as quite a blow to Uber as they are now embroiled in a lawsuit with Waymo, owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, which alleges that Levandowski stole 14,000 confidential files from Google's self-driving vehicle project Waymo before he left.

"Before Uber acquired Otto, we hired an independent forensics firm to conduct due diligence because we wanted to prevent any Google (intellectual property) from coming to Uber", an Uber spokesman wrote in an emailed statement.

The report describes some erratic behaviors and incidents. For instance, he admitted that he retained five disks of Google information after he left Waymo in January 2016. He said he found the disks when gathering devices for the report's investigation. And in some cases, Levandowski accessed that information after leaving Google. When the investigators went to Shred Works none of the employees recognized a picture of him. He didn't have a receipt and said he paid in cash.

Despite the report's findings, Uber said neither its board nor its then chief executive, Travis Kalanick, received the report before acquiring Mr. Levandowski's startup.

Alsup said Gurley can be questioned as a witness about how important it was to his vote for the acquisition of Otto that Kalanick assured him Otto and Levandowski were clean. The full report was uploaded by Recode and can be read online.

In its initial motion for a trial delay, Alphabet said that the document that became public on Monday could lead the company to add more claims of trade secret theft to its case.

But the report does not appear to clearly answer a main question in the case: Whether or not Uber used any of the designs or technology Mr. Levandowski took with him from Google in Uber's own self-driving auto project.

A private report on former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski that was commissioned by Uber and is central to Waymo's lawsuit against the ride hail behemoth was made public for the first time Monday evening.

"It is hard to believe that Levandowski was not, prior to his interview, fully aware of the extent of the data that he had retained", said the report.