Uber is being sued for stealing trade technology and secrets from Google. Waymo, a Google self-driving car project, set up by Google owner Alphabet, is taking legal action against Otto, Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit that has been bought last year for $700m. The lawsuit dispute that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski took information when he left to co-found a venture that became Otto.
Uber said that it will be taking allegations seriously and would analyze the matter carefully. The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Levandowski “downloading 14,000 proprietary and highly confidential design files” during his time as a Google employee. Waymo said, “We believe these actions were part of a concerted plan to steal Waymo’s intellectual property and trade secrets .”
Waymo was created by Alphabet earlier this year as a way of bringing self-driving technology which Google has been working on for years to market.
In a blog post describing the action, Waymo said it was a difficult move to bring the legal action. The blog further said, “Our parent company Alphabet has long worked with Uber in many areas, and we didn’t make this decision lightly.” “However, given the amazing facts that our technology has been stolen, we have no choice but to defend our development and investment of this unique technology.”
LiDAR technology is a laser-based radar system that helps the self-driving cars “see” what is around them. Waymo alleges one of its employees was recently copied into an email intended for Otto’s staff in court documents filed on Thursday. The Machine drawings of Otto’s LiDAR circuit board were attached to the email.
Waymo said, “Its design bore a striking resemblance to Waymo’s unique LiDAR design.”
“We found that six weeks before his termination this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of the circuit board and Waymo’s LiDAR.
“To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched and installed specialized software onto his laptop issued to him by the company. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly trade secrets and confidential files including design files, testing documents and blueprints. “After that, he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then erased and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.”