Economy

Google spinoff and Uber trade jabs in court

Google spinoff and Uber trade jabs in court”

The trial in San Francisco federal court comes almost a year after Google spinoff Waymo accused Uber of ripping off its self-driving auto technology after paying $680 million for a startup run by a former Google engineer.

Uber attorney Bill Carmody called the accusations "quite a story" and argued that it's not clear that Uber ever recieved or used the eight alleged trade secrets Waymo asserted that it had received. He said Kalanick urged Uber employees to find "cheat codes" that would help speed up development of the company's self-driving cars.

"There is no connection whatsoever between any files he downloaded ... and what's in here", Carmody said, pointing to an Uber-designed Lidar sensor sitting in front of him, a light-based sensor that is crucial to autonomous driving and central to the case.

Uber's lawyer Bill Carmody then said that Verhoeven's statements were all untrue. Information may have been the same as Uber and Waymo were working on the same technology, said Carmody.

Travis Kalanick, Uber's former CEO, is expected to take the stand in a San Francisco federal court on Tuesday and answer questions about his role in the ride-hailing company's acquisition of a former Google engineer's autonomous vehicle startup.

In a case that some analysts predict will be bigger than Samsung vs Apple, the knives were out even in the opening remarks with Google's lawyers using the word "cheating" to describe the actions of Uber's former executive Anthony Levandowski, who had previously been at Google.

Levandowski founded a self-driving truck start-up called Otto after leaving Google; Uber later acquired it and appointed him to run its self-driving auto division.

The leader of Waymo said former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski became "an enemy" after he left to found a startup that he later sold to Uber. Waymo lawyers presented notes and emails in an effort to prove that Uber officials knew Levandowski was in possession of stolen files before he was brought onboard. Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik expressed his disdain for Levandowski on Monday during court testimony.

Google was also an early investor in Uber, a relationship that later soured.

When Levandowski left Google, it was understood he took over 14,000 confidential documents with him. In Uber's, Waymo filed a threadbare lawsuit because it was losing engineers to Uber and other companies and wanted to hobble its rival.

This statement was included in the Waymo Team's post in Medium on February 24 past year: "He downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo's highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation".

Those frustrations were expressed in an email by Chris Urmson, one of Google's top self-car driving vehicle executives, to Google CEO Larry Page and his co-founder, Sergey Brin.

The civil case already triggered an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.



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