Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary now handling Google’s self-driving car project, filed a lawsuit in February that alleged Uber stole vital proprietary information about its self-driving technology. On March 10th, Waymo asked the court for a preliminary injunction to suspend Uber’s research on self-driving cars while the case is still ongoing.

In the lawsuit filed last month, Waymo focused on Otto, a company touted to be a self-driving truck startup, acquired by Uber in 2016 for $680 million. The founders of Otto are ex-employees of Google, one of which is Anthony Levandowski. Waymo alleged six weeks prior to his resignation, Levandowski “downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board.” Waymo further alleged many of the employees who left Waymo for Otto also downloaded “Waymo trade secrets in the days and hours prior to their departure.”

Waymo’s self-driving cars are centered around a piece of technology, the LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) circuit board. The technology allows the vehicle to view the world in 3D. Waymo was made aware of Uber’s use of their technology when they were inadvertently copied on an email with an attachment of drawings for a LiDAR circuit board. The attachment was from an employee at Uber and the circuit board appeared to have “a striking resemblance to Waymo’s own highly confidential and proprietary design and reflects Waymo trade secrets.”

Waymo claimed the unlawful theft of its intellectual property, specifically the LiDAR files, has earned Otto an estimated $500 million in revenue.

Uber stated they “take the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously and [they] will review this matter carefully.”

On the 10th of March, Waymo filed several new documents with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Included in the filings are sworn testimonies which uphold Waymo’s allegations that Otto stole LiDAR systems technology. One of those sworn testimonies is from Gary Brown, forensic security engineer for Google. Brown’s testimony stated Levandowski used his personal laptop to download 9.7GB of confidential data prior to leaving Google. Brown further stated the download to Levandowski’s personal device left a trail on Google’s logs which made it easy to determine where the download occurred. Brown said there is further evidence that will show two additional Google engineers, Radu Raduta and Sameer Kshirsagar, also downloaded confidential items.

A spokesperson from Waymo stated, “Given the strong evidence we have, we are asking the court step in to protect intellectual property developed by our engineers over thousands of hours and to prevent any use of that stolen IP.”

Uber did not wish to comment on the preliminary injunction; instead, they referenced a statement they previously provided. “We are incredibly proud of the progress that our team has made. We have reviewed Waymo’s claims and determined them to be a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor and we look forward to vigorously defending against them in court. In the meantime, we will continue our hard work to bring self-driving benefits to the world.”

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