Uber seeks arbitration for patent infringement lawsuit by Waymo

17 March 2017

Uber planned to send the patent infringement lawsuit that Google's self-driving car unit Waymo had brought against it, to be sent to binding arbitration rather than open court.

The suit was filed by Wamo on 23 February (See: Waymo, Google's self-driving company presents new evidence in battle against Uber).

According to Uber, the matter belonged not in court but in private binding arbitration as required under Anthony Levandowski's original employment contract with Google.

Levandowski, a former Waymo engineer, is co-founder of Otto, a self-driving truck startup founded in January 2016 and VP of engineering at Uber.

Uber announced its intention yesterday when both sides met for the first time in a preliminary case management conference in the courtroom of judge William Haskell Alsup in US District Court in the northern district of California in San Francisco.

According to the company, the issue of the stolen trademarked information and intellectual property concerned Levandowski and his former employer because the alleged theft took place while Levandowski was employed at Alphabet's Google.

According to Uber, though it would still be involved in the private arbitration the case would benefit from not being aired in public court.

Arbitration was generally ''quicker, cheaper and more efficient, and it's confidential and private,'' said Stephen Hirschfeld, a partner at Hirschfeld Kraemer, a San Francisco-based employment law firm, USA today reported.

Meanwhile, Uber's attorney Arturo Gonzalez told the court, and Uber had not been able to locate Radu Raduta, one of the engineers Google accuses of downloading documents related to Waymo's AV technology, before joining Waymo.

Uber also countered Waymo's claims that none of Uber's in-house lawyers should be allowed to see unredacted versions of court filings containing Google trade secrets. It was finally agreed that only one of Uber's in-house lawyers, Nicole Bartow, would be allowed to view the documents.

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