Waymo engineer left trail of deleted files on way to Uber

Waymo engineer left trail of deleted files on way to Uber

Waymo engineer left trail of deleted files on way to Uber

When Uber acquired Otto, it also acquired a trove of ill-gotten trade secrets that helped the ride-hailing company get a leg up in the autonomous vehicle market, Waymo claims.

The judge overseeing Waymo's high-stakes lawsuit against Uber over self-driving auto secrets on Tuesday delayed the trial until early December, to give Waymo's attorneys more time to study newly produced evidence in the case. Other details reveal that Otto co-founder Lior Ron also met with Uber executives while he was still employed at Google, and he apparently accessed the login screen for Google's corporate intranet after he left the company, despite his claims to the contrary. The court filing in question involves a due diligence report commissioned by Uber and includes a myriad of facts that Uber had unsuccessfully sought to keep out of the public eye.

The firm had investigated employees of Uber's self-driving subsidiary Otto who were previously employed by Waymo, and the resulting report has been at the centre of the discovery dispute.

The legal dispute between Waymo - Alphabet's self-driving vehicle subsidiary - and Uber is one of the more intriguing and incredulous legal sagas to hit the tech industry in quite some time.

Waymo has until October 23to amend its trade secret list at the heart of the trial.

Although this information is certainly troubling for Levandowski, it also puts a serious dent in Uber's claim that it had no knowledge of any Google data that may have been retained prior to its acquisition of Otto.

In a statement today, an Uber spokesperson said, "Before Uber acquired Otto, we hired an independent forensics firm to conduct due diligence because we wanted to prevent any Google IP from coming to Uber".

The 34-page report, which was compiled by cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg, seems to corroborate Waymo's suspicions that Otto founder Anthony Levandowski retained proprietary information about Google's self-driving auto technology when he left to start his own company.

Levandowski had company files on his personal devices, and destroyed some as well. "In the end, the jury will see that Google's trade secrets are not and never were at Uber". During Stroz Friedberg's interview with Levandowski, he said he found five disks in his Drobo 50 that contained Google proprietary information. The company fired him in May for failing to comply with the investigation.

Further, investigators found that Levandowski had accessed Google files after his departure and then deleted them.

"The impression you get is that he's very concerned that he needs to get rid of stuff that could be a problem", Pooley said. Alsup rebuked Uber's counsel for disclosing tens of thousands of documents just before the trial was set to begin.

An Uber lawyer asked the judge to bar Gurley from testifying at the trial because he is "biased". On the same day, in a deleted iMessage from Levandowski to an unknown recipient he said: "I'll clean that sh** out". Waymo has been testing its technologies in Phoenix, Arizona and the report suggests that the division's first self-driving cars in the service might pick up passengers in this city as early as this month.

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