Judge William Alsup on Wednesday told Alphabet’s legal team to instruct Google co-founder and Alphabet President Sergey to “better show up” for his deposition that Uber has been seeking for several weeks now. The latest development in Alphabet’s dispute with Uber over a number of self-driving technologies that Uber’s ex-chief of driverless solutions Anthony Levandowski allegedly stole from what would become Waymo while he was still working at Google comes after months of public clashes between the two companies. The San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing giant was already granted the right to depose Brin earlier this month, though the tech conglomerate initially refused to cooperate.
Alphabet previously argued that Brin should be spared from any deposition attempts as he doesn’t have any special knowledge of the events on which Uber is planning to question him. “Dozens” of witnesses could answer the same questions, Alphabet argued, though the defendant promptly rejected that assertion; Uber claims that the Mountain View, California-based tech giant was late with paying bonuses to Levandowski, which is why he subsequently downloaded the controversial documents in an attempt to hold them as leverage, adding how none of the taken designs were used in the development of its own driverless solutions and rejecting allegations that Levandowski and Uber’s top management somehow colluded to advertently steal trade secrets from Waymo. Uber then proceeded to file a deposition request for Brin in late June, arguing that Alphabet’s motivations for filing a lawsuit against the company have little to do with intellectual property (IP) protection and are just an attempt to slow down a rising competitor.
Uber will try to prove those claims by questioning Bring and Alphabet’s chief legal counsel David Drummond who previously served on Uber’s Board of Directors. According to the ride-hailing company’s previous claims, Alphabet never contacted Uber over Levandowski’s supposed trade secret theft and its suspicions and instead opted to instantly bring the matter to court. Uber claims that this turn of events indicates that Alphabet was simply looking to catch it by surprise and stretch out their legal battle as much as possible in an effort to slow down Uber’s self-driving endeavors, and will attempt to prove these accusations by deposing Brin.