Alsup referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation of possible trade secret theft on Thursday, when the Uber.Waymo_.Order_.pdf" target="_blank">ruling was released under seal.
Waymo claimed that it had evidence that Otto and Uber were elements of its custom made LiDAR sensors.
So Levandowski can either give up his rights under the Fifth Amendment and open himself to a Waymo lawsuit and a criminal charge, or he can stick with the protection afforded by the Fifth and refuse to obey a direction from Uber to hand over the files which risks him getting sacked by Uber.
Waymo Inc., owned by Google Inc. parent Alphabet Inc., had previously lodged an application with the court arguing that Uber should be forced to cease ongoing development on the grounds that it was using stolen technology. Waymo's claim is that those files were somehow integrated into Uber's own self-driving technology, which Alsup has now confirmed. In fact, Samsung and its partner Hyundai last week had just secured a clearance from the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport allowing the electronic titanand the vehicle manufacturer to begin their run for self-driving automobile tests. Waymo had recently even accused Uber of orchestrating the entire thing. But the judge scolded Waymo for being "overbroad" in what it says are 121 trade secrets involved in the case.
Waymo sued Uber in February alleging that the ride-hailing company is using stolen self-driving technology to build its own autonomous cars. In a statement, the company unsurprisingly failed to mention that setback, noting that "competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs and on the roads, not through unlawful actions..."
Uber said in a statement Monday that it's pleased the court allowed it to continue self-driving auto research, including its own Lidar innovations.
Waymo, a sister company of Google, has officially inked a deal with ride-hailing start-up Lyft to bring the self-driving vehicle innovation into the mainstream transport system "through pilot projects and product development efforts", reported The New York Times. The Silicon Valley firms both have ongoing legal battles with another ride-hailing company, Uber, which has already laid down plans to establish its own self-driving auto as well.
Uber and Waymo are now embroiled in a legal battle in which Waymo accused Uber of stealing company secrets.