Alphabet, Google's corporate parent, is suing Uber for theft of trade secrets through thousands of files by one of the top engineers in its Waymo program. The alleged 14,000 files also contained details on light detection and ranging sensor technology known as Lidar. These systems are used to map out a street or environment, which are vital for the functionality of such a self-driven vehicles. The Waymo employee had used these designs to start a self-driving truck company “Otto” but later sold it to Uber.
While Alphabet files a lawsuit, for Uber it is just another case in the long list of lawsuits. They cannot seem to get a break from bad news. From being accused of sexual harassment, which led to an internal investigation, later that year, a video surfaced of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver. And ultimately, amidst all the turmoil Uber had to admit publicly of using a secret tracking tool to avoid authorities.
Alphabet which originally said that two Lidar patents were infringed, has added a new patent claim to its suit against Uber and sought a preliminary injunction as a means stop Uber from using their stolen property of unpatented trade secrets.
The battle between the two Silicon Valley companies have a few uncanny similarities between another epic battle between tech giants; Apple vs Samsung. Morrison Foerster, who represented Apple would be representing Uber in the suit by Alphabet while Alphabet is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who eventually represented Samsung.
"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." Uber said in a statement.