Uber to appeal arbitration ruling in self driving car lawsuit


Uber Technologies Inc. has threatened to fire Anthony Levandowski, the top driverless-car engineer at the center of its legal battle with Google parent Alphabet Inc., if he doesn't comply with a court order to turn over any files that he might have. "No. 425), entered in this action on May 11, 2017", the document stated on Thursday.

"The ruling said Waymo has "shown compelling evidence" that its former star engineer, Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files" before leaving Alphabet's self-driving auto unit.

Alphabet and Waymo have accused Uber and Otto of stealing Waymo's trade secrets and intellectual property, and infringing on patents related to lidar - a technology which autonomous vehicles use to "see".

The search giant's self-driving automobile Waymo sued Uber accusing that the former Waymo executive and co-founder of Otto downloaded over 14,000 classified files before leaving Waymo to join Uber afterward.

Uber was issued with an injunction last week by United States district judge William Alsup in San Francisco, ordering it to keep Levandowski away from work involving Lidar, which is used for range detection and environment scanning among other things. "Waymo has presented strong evidence that Uber has stolen our trade secrets and used our confidential information", Waymo said in a statement Thursday.

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The key reason for the judge denying the initial arbitration request from Uber was Levandowski pleading his fifth amendment right, citing the need for a public case to properly navigate the obstruction of his plea.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup last week ruled that Waymo's lawsuit should not be heard in a private forum, and instead should continue to be litigated in San Francisco federal court.

A spokesman for Waymo criticized Uber's decision to appeal the order on arbitration.

The court order forcing Uber to make the demand of him is "an act by the judicial branch of our federal government compelling an individual to choose between preserving his livelihood and preserving his constitutional rights".

"If we are not tied for first, then the person who is in first, or the entity that's in first, then rolls out a ride-sharing network that is far cheaper or far higher-quality than Uber's, then Uber is no longer a thing", he said.