Waymo is a tech company that took upon itself the quest to create a fully automated vehicle. The unit is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc since December 2016. However, the company did not let a betrayal go unnoticed. On the contrary, Waymo took legal action against one of its former engineers. It then proceeded to a discreet court battle with Uber Technologies Inc. on grounds of theft of a trade secret.
Uber Wants to Turn the Court Battle into an Arbitration Process
In October, Waymo organized a private arbitration against one of its former engineers, Anthony Levandowski. The main allegations supposed a breach of contractual confidentiality. Moreover, the company accused its former employee of choosing colleagues for his personal robocar firm in an ineligible way.
On Wednesday, the court battle between Alphabet and Uber began. The ride-hailing behemoth is trying to avoid further sessions in court. The explanation that supports this view is that the case has a nature more fit for an arbitration procedure rather than a federal court. This assessment comes in light of a large series of final provisions Alphabet obtained in its arbitration agreement with engineer Levandowski. On the other hand, Waymo abstained from commenting the filing coming from Uber.
By taking their rivalry in court, Uber and Alphabet disclosed an ongoing war in one of the most competitive industries in the modern world. The robocar market is gaining more players than ever. Each of them is aware of the value of this market which is estimated at even trillions of dollars a year.
Waymo Claimed Anthony Levandowski Stole 14,000 Files
Anthony Levandowski used to work for the automobile project of Waymo. However, the engineer transitioned to one of the main rivals of the company, namely Uber. Alphabet’s unit is now claiming that Levandowski left the company together with 14,000 confidential files. As a consequence, Waymo sued Uber and Levandowski’s startup, Otto. The personal project was bought by Uber for $680 million in 2016.
The total of 14,000 stolen files represents the object of Waymo’s lawsuit based on patent infringements. Uber is willing to fight the case as long as the investigation becomes an arbitration process. Moreover, Uber mentioned Waymo’s decision to keep Levandowski away from its new lawsuit as a way to avoid arbitration.
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