UBER RESPONDS: Google claims about stolen technology are a total 'misfire'

Uber has said from the beginning that Google’s claims of intellectual property theft involving self-driving car technology were “meritless”.

On Friday, Uber finally laid out its argument on why it believes the lawsuit brought by Waymo, a Google spin out from the Alphabet-owned company, is a total “misfire”.

Uber is trying to stop a judge from halting the development of its self-driving car program by asserting that:

  • Its Lidar design, a key component in self-driving cars, has a four-lens design compared to Waymo’s single-lens design. It also has two optical cavities compared to Waymo’s one.
  • The 14,000 files downloaded by Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee and now head of Uber’s self-driving car program, never made it to Uber.
  • And Uber claims that Waymo didn’t immediately speak up when it learned that Levandowski had downloaded the files in October 2016. It waited five months before asking for the court for an injunction.

In February, Waymo sued Uber, claiming that Levandowski had stolen vital Lidar technology shortly before starting his own self-driving company (which Uber later acquired). Waymo has asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction to stop Uber from using any technology that may have been built on its proprietary information.

“Waymo’s injunction motion is a misfire: there is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber’s servers and Waymo’s assertion that our multi-lens Lidar is the same as their single-lens LiDAR is clearly false,” Uber’s associate general counsel Angela Padilla said in a statement. “If Waymo genuinely thought that Uber was using its secrets, it would not have waited more than five months to seek an injunction. Waymo doesn’t meet the high bar for an injunction, which would stifle our independent innovation — probably Waymo’s goal in the first place.”

Waymo still says that Uber can’t make the argument that the 14,000 files never made it to Uber since they haven’t been able to search Levandowski’s devices. Levandowski has plead the fifth amendment against self-incrimination, and the court is currently weighing whether or not to allow it.

“Uber’s assertion that they have never touched the 14,000 stolen files is disingenuous at best, given their refusal to look in the most obvious place: the computers and devices owned by the head of their self-driving program,” a Waymo spokesperson said. “We’re asking the court to step in based on clear evidence that Uber is using, or plans to use, our trade secrets to develop their LiDAR technology, as seen in both circuit board blueprints and filings in the State of Nevada.”


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