Uber’s star engineer Anthony Levandowski was “enticed” to copy valuable technology from Google and is now involved in a “cover up” to hide a device based on that technology, according to a new legal filing by Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo.
The device in question is a Lidar unit, the radar sensor that self-driving cars use to map their surroundings.
Uber allowed Waymo to inspect two Lidar devices after it was sued in February for allegedly stealing Waymo’s Lidar design.
But Waymo now says there is an entirely different version of the device that Uber is hiding somewhere.
In a court filing on Friday, Waymo claims that it found evidence that Uber has “misrepresented” its Lidar designs to the court after it deposed several Uber engineers who admitted to having a second prototype. Uber’s case so-far has been to argue that its Lidar design, nicknamed Fuji, is entirely different from Waymo’s.
While Waymo contends that Uber has another Lidar unit, an Uber spokesperson told Business Insider that the initial concept never even made it to the point where it could have infringed on a patent and it was never a device or a secret. Furthermore, the abandoned design is not the one Uber is currently developing for use on its self-driving cars, an Uber spokesperson said.
Waymo wants Levandowski, a former Google engineer who now runs to Uber’s self-driving car program, to be banned from running the unit that he remains in charge of to this day. A hearing for the preliminary injunction is scheduled for May 3.
“Uber has taken, copied, and used Waymo’s technology,” Waymo’s lawyers wrote in the heavily-redacting filing. “This, along with Uber’s subsequent cover-up and violations of this Court’s orders, shows the need for an injunction in this case.”
The trade-secrets case is shaping up to be one of the most significant and closely watched battles in Silicon Valley in years, pitting two of the world’s most powerful companies, and former partners, against each other.
Levandowski, who was also deposed by Waymo, took the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination on every question except six basic questions about his name and education.