News Ruling: Uber Must Return Stolen Files to Waymo

20:36  17 may  2017
20:36  17 may  2017 Source:   Motor Trend

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A federal judge ruled that Uber must return stolen confidential files to Waymo by the end of the month, reports Reuters. The move signals a major victory for Waymo , which claims that Uber stole its trade secrets related to self-driving cars. According to U.S. District Judge William Alsup

SAN FRANCISCO - Uber must promptly return stolen confidential files to Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving car unit, a federal judge ruled , while stopping short of shutting down the ride-services company's autonomous car program.

Volvo XC90 Uber Autonomous Vehicle rear three quarter © Motor Trend Staff Volvo XC90 Uber Autonomous Vehicle rear three quarter

A federal judge ruled that Uber must return stolen confidential files to Waymo by the end of the month, reports Reuters. The move signals a major victory for Waymo, which claims that Uber stole its trade secrets related to self-driving cars.

According to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, Waymo showed "compelling evidence" that its former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded confidential documents from Waymo computers before leaving the company and eventually working for Uber. The judge argued that Uber either knew, or should have known, that Levandowki took potentially sensitive files and that some of the trade secrets were used for Uber's own development efforts. Now, all Uber employees have been barred from using the downloaded materials, and Levandowski has been ordered to stop working on Lidar technology for Uber's driverless cars.

Waymo: Uber stole our self-driving car tech

  Waymo: Uber stole our self-driving car tech In a lawsuit that reads like a spy novel, Alphabet's self-driving car company charges a former employee brought pilfered technology to Uber.The 28-page lawsuit focuses on Otto, a self-driving trucking company that Uber acquired last year. The suit charges that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, downloaded 14,000 "highly confidential" files describing self-driving technology research and brought them to Otto, which he co-founded.

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Uber must urgently return stolen files to Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car division, a US judge has ordered. Waymo spokesman Johnny Luu welcomed the ruling , saying: "Competition should be fuelled by innovation in the labs and on the roads, not through unlawful actions."

Despite the ruling, the judge threw Uber a bone by saying that the company can continue its autonomous car program. The embattled company, which is banking on autonomous tech playing an important role in its ride-hailing fleet, has partnered with automakers including Volvo to test self-driving cars in cities across the country.

Uber also feltsome relief when the judge shot down some of Waymo's claims. Although Waymo alleged that 121 trade secrets were stolen, the judge ruled some of these didn't qualify as trade secrets.

  Ruling: Uber Must Return Stolen Files to Waymo © Motor Trend Staff

Now, Alsup has handed over the case to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is expected to conduct aninvestigation. Meanwhile, Uber has been ordered to provide Waymo with a comprehensive log showing every communication it had with Levandowski involving Lidar. The engineer left Waymo in early 2016 to start a self-driving truck company called Otto, which was later bought by Uber. He then ran Uber's self-driving car division before stepping aside from those responsibilities pending the Waymo litigation.

In another blow to Uber, Waymo and Lyft announced they will work together on self-driving technology. Although the companies didn't reveal their exact plans, thecollaboration will undoubtedly help accelerate the self-driving programs of both companies, putting them in a better position to compete with Uber.

Source: Reuters

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