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Alphabet wants Uber’s self-driving car project shut down for using stolen technology

Published Mar 10th, 2017 2:54PM EST
Google Vs Uber

When Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary operated by Alphabet,  sued Uber two weeks ago for stealing “hundreds of gigabytes” of proprietary information, it made a point of noting that it didn’t make the decision lightly. Citing its long working relationship with Uber, Waymo explained that the actions of former Waymo employees was so egregious that they effectively had no choice but to turn to the court system for relief.

As a quick refresher, Waymo alleges that Uber incorporated stolen technology to come up with a LIDAR circuit board design that bears a curious and “striking resemblance” to Waymo’s own design.

Upping the ante, new court documents filed by Waymo (via The Verge) reveal that the company now wants a judge to prevent Uber from using its “stolen” self-driving car technology until the matter can be settled in the court system.

Today in federal court, Waymo filed the sworn testimony of Gary Brown, a forensic security engineer with Google since 2013. Citing logs from Google’s secure network, Brown claims that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer who now runs Uber’s self-driving car program, downloaded 14,000 files from a Google repository that contain design files, schematics, and other confidential information pertaining to its self-driving car project. Levandowski used his personal laptop to download the files, a fact that Brown says made it easy to track.

Uber of course has all but called the lawsuit frivolous and argues that Waymo is only suing them because they want to hamper their progress.

In a statement Uber made public two weeks ago, the ride-sharing company said: “We have reviewed Waymo’s claims and determined them to be a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor and we look forward to vigorously defending against them in court. In the meantime, we will continue our hard work to bring self-driving benefits to the world.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.