A Judge Has Delayed The Google VS. Uber Self-Driving Car Trial

04 October, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Trial in Waymo vs Uber lawsuit postponed

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and former Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski.Associated PressWaymo published an important document late Monday in its legal battle with Uber over whether a former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, took self-driving auto secrets when he left Waymo to form his own startup.

Then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, left, and Anthony Levandowski, co-founder of Otto, pose for a photo in the lobby of Uber headquarters, in San Francisco.

The new evidence, presented on what was supposed to be the eve of trial, centers on Anthony Levandowski, the former Google self-driving auto engineer at the heart of the contentious legal battle between Google spin-off Waymo and rival Uber. Then, a few months later, Uber bought Otto, a fledgling startup that had just launched.

Waymo claims Uber is using trade secrets contained in some of those documents in Uber's own autonomous driving systems.

It's still unclear, though, whether most of the blame should be placed on Levandowski, rather than Uber. "In addition, Waymo is also awaiting production of 118 of Anthony Levandowski's devices from Defendants".

Meanwhile, though Uber initially sought to seal the report, a spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the company is glad the document is now public. For instance, he admitted that he retained five disks of Google information after he left Waymo in January 2016. Stroz investigators visited the facility but were unable to confirm that Levandowski did indeed destroy the discs.

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A particularly damning portion of the report reads in part: "It is hard to believe that Levandowski was not, prior to his interview, fully aware of the extent of the data that he had retained". The manager did, however, find a receipt with an illegible signature for disk destruction three days after Levandowski said they were dealt with.

Levandowski had company files on his personal devices, and destroyed some as well. The proprietary data "included source code, design files, laser files, engineering documents, and software related to Google self-driving cars". "A review of the names of the deleted files indicates that they were source code and electronic design files relating to driverless cars", the Stroz report notes.

Numerous deletions may have been "good faith attempts" by Levandowski to purge Google material from his devices, the report states.

The report also shows evidence of Levandowski downloading other Google documents and Google emails to his personal computer, many of which were subsequently deleted. Levandowski even attempted to empty the trash folder on his computer during his Stroz interview, the report notes.

Levandowski also claimed during his interview that he did not sync his Google email with his laptop, but he "looked at his laptop and, to his apparent surprise, discovered that he had synced his Google email (anthonyl@google.com) with his laptop in 2014". On Monday a bombshell "due diligence" report from Uber was publicly released, and it's juicy. Last month, an appeals court ruled that Uber had to hand it over. And, he questioned how useful the new documents will be in Waymo's case.

Uber said in its own statement that the company is ready to go to trial now. "Their report, which we are pleased is finally public, helps explain why - even after 60 hours of inspection of our facilities, source code, documents and computers - no Google material has been found at Uber". "Knowing all of this, Uber paid $680 million for Mr. Levandowski's company, protected him from legal action, and installed him as the head of their self-driving vehicle program".

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