Emergent Tech

Uber v Waymo latest: Google spinoff refused access to Uber internal doc hunt details

Wall of silence remains, albeit with a couple of holes

By Gareth Corfield

SHARE

An American judge has denied Google’s self-driving car offshoot Waymo access to details of how Uber hunted for allegedly stolen documents handed to it by former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski.

The attempt to secure discovery came as part of the long-running American court battle between Waymo – owned by Google daddy Alphabet Inc – and controversial taxi app Uber.

In spite of Waymo’s insistence that evidence was being withheld, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, sitting in the US District Court for Northern California, ruled:

“Waymo’s insistence that it is entitled to all privileged communications regarding Uber’s efforts to get Mr Levandowski to return Waymo’s files is unpersuasive and unsupported by citation to any authority.”

Legal news website Law360 reported [paywalled] that some disclosure from Uber had been ordered by the judge, relating to two letters. One was from Uber to Levandowski, banning him from working on LIDAR sensor tech, while the other formally notified him that he had been sacked by Uber.

Waymo is suing Uber for theft of trade secrets. A former Google/Waymo employee, Levandowski left the self-driving car unit to set up his own autonomous vehicle company, Ottomotto, which was bought by Uber for $680m. He allegedly took more than 14,000 documents with him when he quit Waymo, which at the time was still an integral part of Google rather than a standalone venture.

Though he is not named as a defendant, Levandowski has pleaded the 5th Amendment and refused to testify. He has since been fired from Uber after not producing various documents that the parties alleged he held. A judge in an earlier hearing declared:

“If Uber were to threaten Levandowski with termination for noncompliance, that threat would be backed up by only Uber’s power as a private employer, and Levandowski would remain free to forfeit his private employment to preserve his Fifth Amendment privilege.” ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

Post a comment

More from The Register

Here you go, cloudy admins: Google emits NATty odds 'n' sods

Google Cloud Next Incremental titbits aimed at time-poor techies

Surprising no one, Google to appeal against European Commission's €4.34bn Android fine

We'll just take our time here

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

Project Zero would have been all over this – yet it remained under wraps

Iron Mike Pence blasts Google for its censor-happy Dragonfly Chinese search engine

Wait until the Veep finds out what Apple is doing for them

Neil Young slams Google, after you log in to read his rant with Google or Facebook

Heart Of Gold meets Piece Of Crap

Nutanix shares briefly wobble over Google server appliance fears

What if someone else owns someone else's computer?

No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash

Only thing left now is a Supreme Court bid in row over Android and Java copyright

Google shaves half a gig off Android Poundland Edition

Always believe in Go ...

Google to build private trans-Atlantic cable from US to France

Bandwidth is better, down where it's wetter, take it from me!

Cookie clutter: Chrome saves Google cookies from cookie jar purges

Privacy bod says 'remove all' function not living up to its name – netizens stay logged into Chocolate Factory