Uber to appeal judges' order rejecting arbitration in trade secrets lawsuit

Uber plans to appeal a judge's order rejecting its attempt to arbitrate a high profile trade secrets lawsuit against Alphabet's self-driving Waymo unit, a court filing revealed yesterday.

Last week, US district judge William Alsup in San Francisco had turned down Uber's bid to send its high-profile trade secret dispute with Alphabet's self-driving unit Waymo for arbitration (See: US judge rejects Uber's bid take Waymo case to arbitration ).

Judge Alsup ruled that Waymo's lawsuit should not be heard in a private forum, but should continue to be litigated in San Francisco federal court.

The case, which pits two companies that seek to dominate the fast-growing field of self-driving cars, hinges on files that Waymo alleges were stolen by engineer Anthony Levandowski before he left the company.

According to Waymo, the information was used in Uber's Lidar system, a key sensor technology in self-driving cars.

In the order Alsup also issued an injunction ordering Uber to keep Levandowski away from work involving Lidar, to prevent him and all other employees from using the materials and to return them to Waymo by 31 May.

Uber had not said in court papers whether it planned to appeal the injunction.

A spokesman for Waymo slammed Uber's decision to appeal the order on arbitration.

"Uber's appeal is a blatant attempt to hide their misconduct from the public," the Waymo spokesman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, according to an expert, an appeal was unlikely to succeed and would not delay a trial set for October. It is believed that the trial could have a crucial bearing on the race to market autonomous cars that both companies believed will be worth billions of dollars a year.

''It's a long shot for Uber,'' said Charlotte Garden, an associate law professor at Seattle University, The Star Online reported. The trial judge probably won't pause the case to wait for an appeals court ruling, she said.

''In full view of the court, Waymo has presented strong evidence that Uber has stolen our trade secrets and used our confidential information,'' a Waymo spokesman yesterday said. ''Uber's appeal is a blatant attempt to hide their misconduct from the public.''