Google’s self-driving car project company Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber for patent infringement in February, earlier this year.
Lawyers for Waymo say that Anthony Levandowski, who was head of Uber’s self-driving car project, illegally downloaded more than 14,000 files just before he left his job at Google. After leaving Google, Levandowski founded his own startup, Otto. Otto was later sold to Uber in mid-2016 for $680 million. Therefore, Waymo believes that Anthony stole trade secrets and intellectual property and used them to develop self-driving cars at Uber.
Uber has denied using any trade secrets, which it says never made it to Uber servers. Levandowski, who is not a defendant in the case, was fired from Uber after he wouldn’t cooperate with court-ordered discovery.
Amidst the case complications, Waymo’s lawyers have demanded a pay-out of $2.6 billion for one of the nine alleged trade secrets. Uber Technologies attorney Bill Carmody disclosed the figure in a hearing in federal court in San Francisco, where both companies are discussing whether a trial in the case will begin next month. The damages for the other eight alleged thefts have not been disclosed yet.
The trial is currently scheduled to begin on Oct.10, but Waymo’s attorneys have requested it be pushed to Dec. 5. Upon investigation, Waymo’s lawyers found about 64,000 images that Levandowski took from the alleged proprietary information. The lawyers stated that they found a “mountain of new evidence,” which would take time to go through.
Uber’s lawyers believe that Waymo is just stalling to swap or even add new trade secrets to the list of such secrets they are accusing Uber of stealing. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the case, remained alert to the motivations of both sides and asked that both legal teams push harder to make their arguments as to whether the trial date should be delayed.
Alsup hasn’t yet ruled on whether the trial should be delayed or go forward in October. Reportedly, he will make a decision about this on October 3.