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Waymo's Lawsuit Against Uber Going to Federal Prosecutors

13 May 2017
Waymo's Lawsuit Against Uber Going to Federal Prosecutors

It also compounds Uber's other legal problems, he said in an interview Friday. She outlined examples of blatant sexism at Uber that was seemingly tolerated by the company.

"It is very rare for a judge to refer a matter over to the US attorney and signals the judge's displeasure with Uber in the trade secrets civil lawsuit", said Carl Tobias Williams, chair in law at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Whether a criminal investigation gets underway, the mere possibility is bad press Uber hardly needs at this point.

If the ruling and Alsup's comments in the arbitration ruling are any indication, Alsup's pending decision on a preliminary injunction might not be favorable to Uber.

Last February, Waymo, the Alphabet company spun off Google's self-driving auto project, sued Uber over the alleged theft of its self-driving vehicle technology.

It is up to the US Attorney whether or not to take up the case, so a prosecution is far from certain. "He's a target", said Heaphy, the former U.S. attorney.

Beyond the possible criminal cases, Kalanick in February was forced to quit President Donald Trump's council of business leaders after Uber was boycotted by some customers. Prior to 2016 any prosecution would have likely occurred under state laws, he said, but the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 allows for federal prosecution. He has sent the lawsuit to the Department of Justice to investigate whether there was indeed a case of trade secret theft. Waymo alleged that Uber's Lidar system, a vital sensor technology, was fast-tracked using information from the plundered documents. Before he departs, Google/Waymo claim that Levandowski illegally made off with "9.7 GB of Waymo's highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation".

"This was a desperate bid by Uber to avoid the court's jurisdiction", Waymo said in a statement.

Uber may face criminal charges over its alleged theft of trade secrets from Google-owned self-driving vehicle upstart Waymo.

Uber declined to comment on Alsup's request for a separate criminal investigation into the theft allegations. I'm very glad I'm not Anthony Levandowski. Certainly, the question of who knew what and when does seem to be wafting about.

"Indeed, it appears Waymo can make out its case-in-chief without any reference to either agreement", he wrote in refusing to compel arbitration. "We welcome the court's decision, and we look forward to holding Uber responsible in court for its misconduct", said a company spokesman. "Nobody's hiding at Uber".

And what's more, Judge Alsup's 10-page decision to keep the Waymo suit out of arbitration contains hints that the judge is skeptical of tactics used by Uber's lawyers at Morrison & Foerster and Boies Schiller Flexner.

"The relationship itself isn't proof he aided and abetted a crime", Heaphy said.