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Waymo Asks Judge to Delay Trial Start

Google subsidiary says it needs more time to review Uber documents.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car subsidiary, is looking for delay in the lawsuit it has filed against Uber so its lawyers have time to review thousands of pages of documents the ride-sharing pioneer has been forced to give up for review by its adversary.

The documents in question include a “due diligence report done by Uber prior to its acquisition of Otto, a self-driving tech start up focused on building automated trucks. Otto was founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, who had access to Waymo’s most sensitive technical information and whose conduct is at the center of the litigation.

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Levandowski was fired at the end of May by Uber, which has also seen a wholesale departure of senior executives after it became apparent the company’s “anything goes” corporate culture left its intermediate and long-range plans in serious jeopardy.

For example, the Google litigation has slowed Uber’s efforts to build its own automated vehicles, which are considered critical to the success of ride-sharing in the future.

(Uber facing several criminal probes. For the story, Click Here.)

Meanwhile, competitors are beginning to chip away at Uber’s market share dominance after what seems to be an endless string of mishaps ranging from misconduct by drivers, to spats with local municipalities to the aforementioned corporate issues.

Waymo launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

Waymo is requesting U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup postpone the trial that is currently scheduled to begin Oct. 11 in San Francisco.

(Judge calls for criminal probe in Waymo/Uber trade secrets case. Click Here for the story.)

After filing the motion for a delay, Waymo said the documents, which Uber had to release after losing an appeal, contain direct evidence supporting its claims. The documents go to the heart of Waymo’s case and also require a new round depositions and expert reports to help explicate the misconduct on the part of Uber.

Google has argued since filing its lawsuit last winter that it spent years working on the company’s self-driving car effort, but Levandowski stole Waymo’s intellectual property before he quit in early 2016, and that when he joined Uber six months later. He then used the illicit knowledge to advance his new employer’s technology.

(To see how the “passenger economy” will grow to $7 trillion by 2050, Click Here.)

Uber has denied the charges, but says Levandowski failed to cooperate with Uber’s lawyers, which was a breach of his employment contract.

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