Uber and Waymo are finally going to trial. Why we should care

After months of scandal and delay, the biggest trial in Uber’s history, both figuratively and literally, finally kicks off on Monday.

The judge and jury in a San Francisco federal court will seek to determine whether former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski stole trade secrets from Waymo, a self-driving car technology spun out from Google (GOOG, GOOGL). In particular, Waymo alleges Levandowski downloaded 14,000 confidential files in late 2015 related to Google’s self-driving car technology before leaving the company to co-found Otto, a startup that developed self-driving technology for truck rigs. In August 2016, Uber acquired Otto for a report $680 million and placed Levandowski in charge of Uber’s self-driving efforts. 

Waymo, for its part, claims the documents Levandowski downloaded were used to help develop Uber’s own self-driving car technology and misappropriates its trade secrets, particularly those related to Google’s distance-measuring LiDAR technology. Uber, however, denies any wrongdoing and has distanced itself from Levandowski. The company fired Levandowski in May 2017 for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. 

The Waymo vs. Uber trial was originally scheduled to start in October but saw multiple delays after U.S. District Judge William Alsup learned Uber withheld evidence in the form of a 37-page letter from a lawyer for a former Uber security analyst, which Uber did not share with Waymo as both sides prepared their cases.

“I can’t trust anything you say because it’s been proven wrong so many times,” Alsup told Uber during his heated remarks at a pre-trial hearing in November. “You’re just making the impression that this is a total cover-up.”

Once the trial kicks off, the list of witnesses reads like a partial who’s who of Silicon Valley talent, including Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, former head of legal at Uber Salle Yoo, and Levandowski himself.

If Waymo wins

For Uber, there’s a lot at stake, beyond simply further damage to its already-tarnished reputation. In 2017, Uber was rocked by scandal, including </span><a href=&quot;https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-ceo-travis-ka

Latest Posts From This Category

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply