Uber threatens to fire self-driving car engineer in trade secrets case

Isaac Cain
May 19, 2017

Uber has been ordered by a court to return stolen files to Google's self-driving vehicle company Waymo after an ex-employee stole the information before getting hired on by Uber. "Waymo has presented strong evidence that Uber has stolen our trade secrets and used our confidential information", Waymo said in a statement Thursday.

The case, which pits two companies battling to dominate the fast-growing field of self-driving cars, hinges on files that Waymo alleges engineer Anthony Levandowski stole before leaving the company. Levandowski left Google, started an automous truck company, and then was bought by Uber, and Waymo claims the truck company was just a sham for Uber to steal its tech. He had until last month run Uber's self-driving vehicle division, before stepping aside from those responsibilities pending the court case. A preliminary injunction to hinder Uber's self-driving technology development during the case has been imposed, but it's unclear to what extent.

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Uber appealed on Thursday a USA court's decision to deny the company's motion to push its case to arbitration in the Waymo lawsuit, a court document revealed.

Uber declined to comment. "Uber's appeal is a blatant attempt to hide their misconduct from the public".

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