Uber is asking a federal court that most of the claims of a lawsuit filed by rival self-driving car developer Waymo should be settled through arbitration, a process that is usually cheaper and faster than a federal lawsuit. The ride-hailing company is referring to Waymo's own arbitration proceedings against a former engineer who later joined Uber as the basis for its argument in favor of arbitration to resolve the dispute. Waymo filed a suit last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that a former employee Anthony Levandowski stole trade secrets relating to self-driving cars before leaving to start Otto, a self-driving trucking company that was later acquired by Uber. Other former Waymo employees who left for Uber and Otto were also found downloading sensitive files, Waymo alleged. "Waymo's trade secret and unfair competition claims must be referred to arbitration because they arise out of, relate to, and result from Levandowski's employment," Uber has submitted in a filing on Wednesday.
The federal judge overseeing a trade secret dispute between Uber and the Google spin-off Waymo has recommended that federal prosecutors begin a criminal investigation into the alleged theft of Waymo's self-driving car technology. Judge William Alsup's referral of the case to the US attorney came amid a flurry of orders in the contentious lawsuit between two Silicon Valley giants. Alsup also denied Uber's attempt to force the case into arbitration and partially granted Waymo's request for a preliminary injunction against Uber. The details of the preliminary injunction are sealed, so it is unclear to what extent Uber will be affected by the order. Waymo had sought to compel the return of its documents and to bar Uber from using lidar technology it said was stolen.
Uber is putting the brakes on its driverless car pilot program after one of its self-driving cars got into a high speed crash in Arizona. Sean Dowling (@seandowlingtv) has more. A group of self driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. SAN FRANCISCO -- A potentially pivotal lawsuit between Uber and Alphabet's Waymo over allegedly stolen self-driving vehicle sensor technology just took another screeching turn. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded the now Uber-owned self-driving truck company Otto, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination Wednesday, according to a transcript of the private court hearing reviewed Thursday by USA TODAY.
Anthony Levandowski, shown here during a briefing at a garage owned by his self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber bought in 2016. The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber's use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber suffered a potentially major setback in a court case that could affect the development of self-driving cars Thursday night when the judge referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for an investigation into the possible theft of trade secrets by an Uber executive. In the ruling, Judge William Alsup said the case must stay in court and not go to a private arbitrator as Uber had wanted. "The court takes no position on whether a prosecution is or is not warranted, a decision entirely up to the United States Attorney," Alsup wrote in his order.
Uber has threatened to fire Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer at the centre of Uber's court case with Alphabet's Waymo, accused of stealing self-driving car trade secrets. Waymo sued Uber alleging that Levandowski, one of the former engineers key to the development of Google's self-driving cars, downloaded more than 14,000 confidential documents before leaving Waymo to start self-driving truck firm Otto, which was subsequently bought by Uber. According to a court filing, Uber told Levandowski that he must comply with an order to return Waymo documents or face possible termination. Uber general counsel, Salle Yoo, wrote in a letter to Levandowski: "If you do not agree to comply with all of the requirements set forth herein, or if you fail to comply in a material manner, then Uber will take adverse employment action against you, which may include termination of your employment." The case, which pits the two companies battling for dominance in the fast-growing field of self-driving cars, hinges on Waymo's allegations that data taken by Levandowski made its way into a key sensor system for self-driving cars called Lidar.