Uber and Waymo are currently embroiled in a legal battle in which Waymo accused Uber of stealing company secrets. To be more specific, Uber bought over a company started by a former Waymo employee who allegedly took the confidential files with him when he left. Waymo had recently even accused Uber of orchestrating the entire thing.
Whether or not this is true is unclear, but in the meantime Waymo has scored something of a win against Uber. This is thanks to a ruling by a judge in San Francisco in which the judge has ordered Uber to return the confidential files back to Waymo, stating that there is compelling evidence that former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski “pilfered” thousands of documents before leaving the company.
According to US District Judge William Alsup, “The bottom line is the evidence indicates that Uber hired Levandowski even though it knew or should have known that he possessed over 14,000 confidential Waymo files likely containing Waymo’s intellectual property.” Alsup also ordered Uber to ensure that Levandowski is kept away from working on Lidar, which is one of the key pieces of technology behind the project.
Waymon spokesman Jonny Luu said, “Competition should be fuelled by innovation in the labs and on the roads, not through unlawful actions.” That being said, Uber’s self-driving project is still allowed to continue, although we reckon this ruling will probably hamper their efforts somewhat.