Uber claims it was not aware of any proprietary information taken from Waymo
29 June 2017
Uber said today that it was not aware of any proprietary information taken from Waymo until the company had filed its lawsuit. Uber's submission came in response to a series of questions posed by district judge William Alsup.
According to Waymo, as he exited the company ex-Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski took with him thousands of confidential documents related to Google's proprietary LiDAR design, which, it believed, were later used in the creation of Uber's own custom autonomous driving technology.
There had been many twists and turns in the case, as both companies prepare to submit discovery documents for a planned October court date.
However, some of the most contentious fighting leading up to the trial had centred around whether or not Levandowski downloaded the files before leaving Waymo, who he might have shared them with, and what Uber knew about the alleged theft and when.
Waymo contends Uber was aware Levandowski was in possession of material he should not have had, pointing to Uber's own filings to support the claim. These included a meeting held on 11 March, 2016, when Levandowski told Uber executives, including then-CEO Travis Kalanick, about five discs of Waymo material he had discovered.
Uber had long maintained that it was not aware that Levandowski had allegedly downloaded 14,000 documents from Google's autonomous vehicle unit before leaving to launch his own startup, Otto, which Uber later acquired. Google's self-driving car company, Waymo, sued Uber in February, claiming that Levandowski had stolen trade secrets and used them to develop autonomous technology for Uber.
According to commentators, as Uber had fought to keep its due diligence report on the Otto acquisition secret, it seemed more and more likely that Levandowski's behaviour might have raised concerns during due diligence.
They add, Waymo lawyers too seemed to be on the same page, as they say the diligence investigation was ''designed specifically to uncover or confirm, the downloaded Waymo files in Otto's or Levandowski's possession.''