Transportation network company Uber Technologies has given Anthony Levandowski one of its top driverless-car engineers a notice of termination if he does not follow with the court order to hand over the confidential documents that he has been charged of stealing by Google parent Alphabet Inc.
The search giant’s self-driving automobile Waymo sued Uber accusing that the former Waymo executive and co-founder of Otto downloaded over 14,000 classified files before leaving Waymo to join Uber afterward.
Nature of the Lawsuit
The case revolves around Waymo’s charges that Uber has acquired an advantage from the information Levandowski took.
The information was believed had made its way into Uber’s light detection and ranging systems (LiDAR) which is a key sensor technology in self-driving automobiles since it assists the cars to see and navigate the world.
Uber has sent Levandowski a four-page letter on Monday saying that he must fulfill with the court order which oblige him to surrender the 14,000 documents and a huge accounting of any Uber personnel’s usage or awareness of the files.
According to the letter, the transportation group has been ordered to prevent Levandowski and all other officers, directors, personnel and agents of defendants from referring, copying or otherwise using the downloaded files.
Within the same order, the court also provided Uber a deadline of May 31 at noon to hand over the materials Levandowski supposedly downloaded to Alphabet’s auto company.
The auto firm refused to comment further than the court filing by Levandowski’s lawyers.
Levandowski’s lawyers stated that he was ordered by the company to meet the terms of the order to return Waymo materials or deal with likely dismissal.
The former Alphabet engineer has constantly declared his rights in the case to not lay the blame on himself under the Fifth Amendment refusing to testify in the case and declining to hand over the documents.
Earlier on Thursday, a US District Judge ruled last week that Levandowski’s use of the Fifth Amendment does not prevent Uber from firing him and that the company should not hold anything back in requiring him to reveal more details on the subject of the suspected stolen files.
Lawyers of Levandowski had requested the judge to amend his order so that Uber will not be oblige to fire the engineer if he stresses his constitutional rights against incriminating himself and declines to give the documents.
The judge also ruled that Waymo’s court case should not be discussed in a concealed meeting and instead should continue to be litigated in San Francisco federal court.
The driverless car company pointed out that even though Levandowski is not a defendant of the lawsuit, the dispute does not belong in court due to the engineer’s contract with Waymo consisted of broad conditions to resolve any disputes in arbitration.
The US District Judge ruled out the argument saying that Uber cannot implement arbitration contracts it did not sign.
Uber has renewed its appeal to move its self-driving car trade-secrets case with Waymo into a private arbitration.
The transportation company filed a notice on Thursday that it will petition a May 11 ruling rejecting its statement to move the case out of public court.
According to a legal expert, an appeal is not likely to happen and will not postpone a trial scheduled for October that might tilt the odds in the fight to market autonomous cars that both Uber and Waymo deem will be worth billions of dollars a year.
The arbitration would benefit Uber above all by keeping the case out of the public’s eye and by containing the span of information sharing or discovery.
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