Waymo Seeking $2.6 Billion From Uber Over Trade Secret Theft

September 21, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Waymo is seeking $2.6 billion in damages from Uber over supposed trade secret theft, an attorney of the ride-hailing service provider revealed during a Wednesday hearing presided by Judge William Alsup. The figure was publicly revealed at the insistence of an Uber attorney after Waymo’s legal representatives decided against fighting its disclosure, having only noted how that amount represents the maximum value of damages that Uber may owe due to the alleged trade secret theft. The two are still in a preliminary phase of a case started by Alphabet’s subsidiary earlier this year after the company accused Uber of using a number of self-driving trade secrets compromised by Google’s former engineer Anthony Levandowski who went on to take over Uber’s autonomous vehicle division after his startup Otto was acquired by the San Francisco, California-based company in summer 2016.

The plaintiff is presently claiming that Mr. Levandowski — who was laid off by Uber in the aftermath of the litigation but isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit — compromised nine trade secrets before leaving a Google unit which was later spun off into Waymo. Uber previously argued that Mr. Levandowski downloaded certain documents in order to ensure his bonus payment that Google promised him but was late with delivering it, noting how none of the technologies in question were ever utilized by the firm. The majority of the Wednesday hearing pertained to Waymo’s motion to delay the trial which is scheduled to move to court come mid-October. Alphabet’s division previously requested a postponement after Uber was compelled to produce a due diligence report of Otto it ordered last year prior to acquiring the firm for $680 million.

No final decisions on the matter have yet been given and Judge Alsup said that both parties should still expect the trial to begin on October 10 and last for three weeks. Waymo proposed the schedule to be moved to December 5, stating that the trial could be concluded in two weeks in such a scenario. Uber remains adamant that the plaintiff is stalling and wants to begin the proceedings at the originally agreed date. The court is expected to reach a final decision on the postponement request by the end of the month.