Waymo Wants Billions From Uber for a Single Trade Secret

Waymo Wants Billions From Uber for a Single Trade Secret

The San Francisco federal court heard on Wednesday that Waymo, the self-driving subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., are asking for a payment of $2.6 billion for a single trade secret they claim was illegally acquired through an ex-employee.

Uber’s attorney, Bill Carmody made the disclosure during a session between the two companies to ascertain if the trial will begin next month.  Waymo are asking the judge for more time to examine new evidence with Uber, contesting that their opponents are trying to delay the trial due to a lack of evidence.

The case stems from Uber’s acquisition of Otto, a self-driving lorry company masterminded by Anthony Levandowski following his departure from Google.   Waymo asserted in an earlier case this year that Levandowski had downloaded over 14,000 proprietary design files from Google six weeks prior to his departure to set up Otto.

Otto was quickly acquired by Uber and Waymo have claimed that Uber have now used this information obtained illegally to develop its LiDAR circuit board which is used to aid the functionality of its own self-drive cars.

The case has already resulted in the dismissal of Levandowski, who had been at the forefront of Uber’s self-driving cars since Otto’s sale.  Uber have claimed that they had no knowledge of the stolen confidential files and no technology from Waymo has made its way into their own cars.

The full amount of damages sought by Waymo has not yet been divulged, but given that the amount revealed by Carmody on Wednesday is only one of nine trade secrets allegedly stolen, it’s safe to assume the total figure will be well beyond $2.6 billion.

 

The trial was originally scheduled to begin on 10th October, however, Waymo are seeking a new start date of 5th December.  The judge has yet to issue his ruling, but is expected to do so by 3rd October.