According to the U.S. “Wall Street Journal” website, technology companies are investing billions of dollars to develop autonomous driving in the hope of saving lives, eliminating human drivers and one day gaining wealth. But the future of autopilot technology may depend on the outcome of a court ruling in San Francisco on Monday, the two technology companies – Uber and Alphabet, which run Waymo.
Over the years, the two Silicon Valley technology giants have been fighting in court for a technical leak. The case was filed by Waymo and taken up by a California North District court accusing Uber of buying an autonomous driving truck company Otto for about $ 680 million in 2016. The latter’s founder, Anthony Lewandowski, was an engineer at Google in connection with Steal the old club driverless car design secrets.
Uber denied the allegations, but court documents showed that Uber knew Lewandowski’s sensitive Google documents before acquiring Otto. However, the San Francisco-based startup said it is using autonomous technology to develop autonomous vehicles. In May last year, the company fired Lewandowski, in part because he was unwilling to cooperate with Uber’s internal investigation. His lawyer did not respond to the reporter’s comment.
A spokesman said Waymo “has accumulated a host of compelling evidence of Uber’s theft and use of Waymo’s trade secrets.” But Uber spokesman said he is confident of winning the lawsuit. At present, the foreign media have not yet obtained the crucial news of the case.
Waymo’s appeal was to issue a paper ban to prevent Uber from further developing driverless vehicle technology, which could cost billions of dollars in damages. If Waymo wins the verdict, the verdict will either crush the rivals directly as the company is looking to build its own car rental network in the coming years.
In Uber’s opinion, developing autonomous driving cars is the only way to increase efficiency and increase profitability. If the verdict is favorable to Uber, it means that the company has won a major moral victory and the autonomous research and development of autonomous vehicles will continue.
The lawsuit, which involves billions of dollars and the future of personal mobility, is expected to become the litmus test of intellectual property law.
“The bets are too high,” said John Marsh, a lawyer specializing in trade secrets at Bailey Cavalieri LLC. “The two companies will have to think very carefully about how they get litigated, when and which companies to buy and buy, and the pros and cons of employees in the acquired businesses.”
Waymo’s allegations revolve around Lidar technology, or light detection and ranging systems, the technology Uber must use to develop autonomous vehicles. Waymo claims that Lewandowski downloaded about 14,000 sensitive files onto his personal computer before he joined Google, jeopardizing eight patents.
However, Judge Arsupp questioned the fact that lawyer Waymo could not prove that Uber was involved in the theft of Google’s trade secrets, and that it inappropriately applied it to the development of Lidar. This may mean that Waymo must have a jury to understand the technical details in the software code and sensor. The outside world thinks, Waymo allegations content is too complicated, the proof is an inevitable mission.
Late last year, there was a surprising turnaround in the case when a former Uber security official publicly posted a 37-page letter stating that a secretive organization exists inside the company to steal trade secrets and help employees avoid Regulatory review. Uber denied the court claiming the letter came from an extortionist seeking to extract millions of dollars from Uber, many of which are false allegations. Last month, the judge said most of the letter will not be taken away unless the former executive is willing to testify.
Lewandowski said he would apply the Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination, though he was not a nominee for the case. Other potential celebrity authors include former Uber CEO Travis Carranick, Google founder Larry Page and benchmark venture capitalist Bill Gurley, who served as Uber’s director.
Regardless of the outcome, Uber’s future will be troublesome: After Judge Althoup recommended a criminal investigation into Uber, the U.S. Department of Justice may decide to file a charge against the company. The latter declined to comment. (Si Mei)