Uber and Google go head-to-head in landmark self-driving cars court case


The engineer helped Google become a leading force in the autonomous auto world before leaving to found his own self-driving truck startup, Otto, which was subsequently bought by Uber. The suit alleges that engineer Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 computer files while he was an employee at Waymo, and eventually passed them on to Uber. Carmody used his opening statement to clarify Uber's position on the matter, saying that Waymo doesn't own all of the ideas that inherent within some of its technology - which he called "engineering concepts". Once Levandowski left, he founded Ottomotto, a company that was then acquired by Uber for $680 million several months later. Waymo claims Levandowski and Uber's senior executives met to discuss forming and acquiring Ottomotto while Levandowski was still at Waymo as a ruse for stealing Waymo's technology. "That losing is not an option". "They are willing to do anything they needed to do to win".

The trial stems from a lawsuit filed a year ago by Waymo - previously known as the Google auto unit - which claimed former manager Anthony Levandowski took a trove of technical data with him when he left to launch a competing venture that went on to become Otto and was later acquired by Uber. Uber's attorneys are brushing off the allegations as trumped-up claims created to thwart a rival. "We're dealing with trade secrets that you can't see, you have to visualize them somehow".

Waymo's chief lawyer stated that the reason behind Uber's plagiarism was that it's a company that realized the future of elite transportation is heading towards autonomous vehicles, and they realized how grim the future will be.

The first witness, Waymo CEO John Krafcik, said he felt a growing mistrust toward Levandowski.

But if Waymo can piece together a compelling narrative of Uber malfeasance and cheatery with Kalanick and Levandowski at its center, the company might sway the trial's 10 jurors to award it billions in damages.

Bill Carmody, representing Uber, said the "elephant in the courtroom" was that, despite the downloads by Levandowski, no Google information made it into Uber's self-driving technology. Here's everything you need to know about one of the highest-profile clashes between tech rivals yet.

Instead, he portrayed Waymo as a company that was losing its edge in the self-driving auto game. This would be a big blow to the company, which once said leading the way in self-driving tech was critical to its survival.

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Waymo is seeking damages against Uber and a court order preventing the ride-hailing service from using eight of its trade secrets. "We came to find that aspects of our technology were taken from us in an unfair fashion". "That's why we filed the lawsuit".

Verhoeven said Waymo's huge head start in self-driving technology caught Uber's attention, and Uber chose to hire Levandowski as a way of getting "cheat codes".

Another outcome, of course, is that Waymo fails to convince the jury that any trade secrets were stolen, and that's the end of that.

Other messages shown in court to Kalanick said that Uber was able to lure Levandowski and others by the proposal of "selling a non-existent company".

"They're not in the ridesharing space today", Krafcik replied.

The Waymo-Uber trial was originally slated to begin in December. In March 2017, the presiding Judge on the case, William Alsup, ordered Levandowski to stop working on LiDAR for Uber and he was subsequently fired from the company for failing to cooperate in an internal investigation. "Uber regrets ever bringing Anthony Levandowski on board", he said. "For all his time at Uber, all Uber has to show for Levandowski is this lawsuit".

Carmody is with Susman Godfrey in NY.