There is something which has been common in Waymo’s patent infringement lawsuit against Uber. The ride-hailing giant has been insistent about settling the trade-secret battle, as it is being defined, outside of federal court and in private (via Reuters).
And though U.S District Court Judge William Alsup has already rejected Uber’s motions and recommended the lawsuit to federal prosecutors for criminal investigation, the ride-hailing giant has appealed against his decision. It is once again pushing for private arbitration, even when it doesn’t exactly have the provided terms to do with Waymo.
On Thursday, Uber has filed a notice of appeal informing the Northern California federal court that is once again opening its appeal for arbitration. The American ride-hailing giant has asked the Federal Court of Appeals to jump in and review the ruling detailed by Judge Alsup, who’s presiding over this case.
The said ruling involved a similar motion, which is to transfer the ongoing lawsuit from public proceedings to a more private setting. Waymo opposed the said motion, as expected and is completely satisfied with the judge’s decision to refer the lawsuit proceedings to the Department of Justice.
And this seems like another futile attempt on Uber’s part as judge Alsup has already stated that these proceedings need to remain in the public eye because the two self-driving divisions battling each other do not have any kind of arbitration agreement. As reported earlier, Alphabet’s spin-off self-driving division did resort to private arbitration with its former executive. But, that didn’t work out in their favor.
So, the company had to point the gun towards Uber, who is currently employing Levandowski. The Mountain View giant accused them of using confidential compensation info to lure Waymo team members to the ride-hailing giant. Commenting on this appeal notice, a Waymo spokesperson in a statement said:
In full view of the court, Waymo has presented strong evidence that Uber has stolen our trade secrets and used our confidential information. Uber’s appeal is a blatant attempt to hide their misconduct from the public.
The primary concern among automotive and technology watchdogs is that the ongoing tussle between Uber and Waymo can prove to be detrimental for the self-driving industry, as a whole. The lawsuit involves two of the fastest growing technology firms in terms of autonomous tech development – Uber and Waymo are both conducting public on-road trials.
The fate of Uber’s self-driving division could have been in jeopardy as the judge was in favor of an injunction and has even passed a partial one. It says that the ride-hailing giant can continue to operate its autonomous vehicle efforts, only if former Google Anthony Levandowski doesn’t participate (or meddle) with the affair of the LiDAR sensor team. Waymo has alleged that its star self-driving executive exited the company with more than 9.7GB worth of confidential data, about 14000 blueprints, design files, and testing documentation, used to build the self-driving truck startup Otto, which was bought by Uber.