It seems that nothing is ever simple when Uber is involved, even straightforward cases of information theft. Uber was accused by Waymo of stealing technological data and sued them in February 2017. The case is unusual I that it is not a direct theft-related case, it involves Anthony Levandowski a former Waymo Executive who is accused of stealing over 14,000 secret documents before resigning from Waymo and subsequently starting up his own driverless car company called OttMotto. Uber bought out OttoMotto a few months after it was set up and this is why Waymo, an Alphabet company believes that Uber stole the information. IN fact, they claim the whole process was orchestrated by Uber and Levandowski together. Uber claims that it has no such files, never had and has scoured its servers to find any data that might be associated with any one of the 14,000 files claimed to have been stolen.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco stated that he had been contacted by the U.S. Department of Justice in regard to the case and pursuant to the disclosure which remains undisclosed, asked Uber to bring three witnesses to the trial scheduled for December 4th. These witnesses include a former security analyst that worked for Uber and an Uber legal counselor. What makes this case unusual; is that the Justice Department does not get involved in active cases, especially not sharing information with Judges during a case. When looking at the order given by Judge Alsup, he stated that he wanted to question the former Uber security analyst in relation to devices used by Uber.
Judge Alsup is also involved in a civil action that was brought by Waymo against Uber earlier this year, and he tasked federal prosecutors with the investigation into the probable criminal theft of trade secrets. The probe is being investigated by Northern California U.S. Attorney's office, the intellectual property investigation team.
Both Uber and Waymo decline to discuss the case until the issue has been discussed in court and none of the witnesses were available for comments to media.
Photo of Uber's autonomous vehicle roof sensors.