San Francisco, US, March 16 — Unless you have been living under a rock, it is hard to refute that the future will be laden with intelligent devices. We can, therefore, make observations that the prospects of future business opportunities spur most corporations to funnel vast sums of money towards R&D.
Stolen IP or not?
It is unpleasant if such a company learns or even suspect that their research findings were unlawfully used by a rival. This is exactly the scenario Google finds itself in. At the core of this is the self-driving car technology which Waymo alleges was stolen by Uber.
Waymo is one of Google’s flagship AI projects, and they are confident about it being a success. It was also the first of its kind to be tested in the self-driving artificial intelligence sphere.
Google is insisting that their trade secrets were stolen by a former employee, Anthony Levandowski, who ditched the company and opted to form his own startup. This startup was seemingly founded solely based on Google / Alphabet and Waymo’s intellectual property.
Google states that just before resigning without notice, he downloaded more than 10,000 confidential documents about “LiDAR” which is a key technology to make vehicles drive on their own.
“You don’t get many cases where there is pretty direct proof that someone downloaded 14,000 documents and then left the next day. This is a serious proposition,” Alsup, San Francisco, District Judge.
Anthony Levandowski not only formed his company but also came up with a self-driving truck he branded OTTO. According to Google lawyers, Uber acquired this startup and plagiarized all the self-driving technology which Google claims were theirs.
Google versus Uber
It is for this reason that Google and Uber lawyers are trotting back and forth between courts. Waymo wants justice and is increasingly cautious. As a matter of fact, they are standing tough and insisting only a few select lawyers from Uber should have access to their R&D secrets lest something similar happen.
Uber on the other side was quick to tell the courts that they were having a hard time pinpointing Radu Raduta. He was a Mechanical Engineer involved with Waymo. Google claims that just before quitting, Raduta and another Engineer, Sameet Kshirsagar, exchanged incriminating documents relating to Waymo and resigned.
Uber says that Radu Raduta no longer works with them, but Levandowski does. They are now packing all the heat on Levandowski.
Uber advocated for arbitration proceedings between Waymo and Anthony Levandowski. They urge the court to consider the terms of working conditions between the two parties as highlighted in the employee contract which Levandowski signed and was appended by Waymo. Waymo’s lawyer confirmed the existence of the contract. Within it, procedures for arbitration in case of unlawful disclosure is specified.
Dalmas Ngetich is a technology news contributor at TechAcute. He holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from JKUAT, Kenya. Nothing ticks him more than innovation that shapes status quo.