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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on May 5th, 2017 | by James Ayre

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US Judge: Waymo Doesn’t Have Smoking Gun Showing Uber Conspired To Steal Trade Secrets

May 5th, 2017 by  


As we previously reported, Waymo/Google is currently in the process of suing Uber for the alleged theft of trade secrets by a former engineer who left to found the self-driving semi truck startup Otto, which was subsequently acquired by Uber.

In relation to this, Waymo/Google had requested that a US judge issue an injunction blocking Uber from continuing to test its self-driving vehicle tech. It turns out, though, that the evidence provided by Waymo/Google isn’t sufficient to get the injunction granted, according to US District Judge William Alsup.

Judge Alsup stated at the hearing on the matter that he hadn’t seen enough clear evidence to grant an injunction, or rather that he “was wrestling with whether to issue an injunction against the ride service,” as worded by Reuters.

Here’s more from that coverage: “At a hearing in San Francisco federal court, US District Judge William Alsup said it was undisputed that the engineer, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded about 14,000 documents shortly before he stopped working for Waymo.

“If it were proven that Levandowski and Uber conspired in taking Waymo’s information, that could have dire consequences for Uber, say legal and ride-hailing industry experts. … However, Alsup expressed skepticism over whether Uber actually used any Waymo trade secrets. … Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven said the company suspects such evidence exists. Levandowski declined to answer questions during a deposition, citing his constitutional rights against self incrimination.”

Alsup noted: “I’ve given you lots of discovery, and so far you don’t have any smoking gun.”

On the other hand, Waymo contends that a lot is not being revealed (that should be revealed). “Verhoeven also said Uber was improperly withholding thousands of documents on the grounds that they are confidential legal documents. The judge did not make a ruling from the bench on Wednesday.”

The judge is reportedly still deciding whether or not to send Waymo’s trade secret theft claims to non-public arbitration.





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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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