Uber could be heading to court for another lawsuit. The car-sharing service’s legal foe this time is Alphabet’s Waymo. If you remember, Waymo is a self-driving vehicle developer that has been hard at work on technology on this automotive frontier. It looks as though Waymo believes that Uber stole some of its self-driving technology for its own efforts.
The alleged theft came as Waymo employees Anthony Levandowski, Lior Ron, and Don Burnette left to establish Otto in 2016. Otto’s focus is in self-driving technology and these three founders worked on different parts of Waymo’s technology—maps, hardware, software, etc.
By that summer Otto had been scooped up Uber and Levandowski found a high position within Uber. The issue here is that Waymo believes that Levandowski made off with 14,000 documents detailing Waymo technology.
The company goes more into the specifics of the suit on Medium. According to Waymo Levandowski used software that allowed for him to scoop up “9.7GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation.” Afterward, Waymo claims that the Uber executive wiped the laptop to hide his deed.
So how did Waymo sniff out this nefarious act? Email. In its complaint, Waymo said that it was CC’d on an email that featured patented LiDAR circuit board plans and was supposed to be between Uber and component suppliers.
Waymo wants California courts to block Uber and Otto from using the technology it claims was stolen while Uber vows to check into the allegations. If you’re interested in some legal reading the complaint can be viewed here.