Alphabet’s Waymo sues Uber and Otto for patent infringement

By : |February 24, 2017 0

It’s the season of legal suits. The latest one to make headlines is the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo against Uber alleging that parts of Uber’s autonomous driving technology, specifically LiDAR, infringe on patents held by Waymo.

According to Waymo, it developed a “combination of unique laser systems to provide critical information for the operation of fully self-driving vehicles,” which were taken by Otto founder Anthony Levandowski specifically, who was previously a manager working for Waymo. Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 “highly confidential and proprietary files” from Waymo prior to leaving the company, including its proprietary LiDAR circuit board design.

“While Waymo developed its custom LiDAR systems with sustained effort over many years, Defendants leveraged stolen information to shortcut the process and purportedly build a comparable LiDAR system in only nine months,” Waymo wrote in the complaint it filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Apparently, Levandowski isn’t the only one. Waymo said that two other former Waymo employees who were now at Otto and Uber respectively were also part of the espionage and had downloaded additional highly confidential information associated with Waymo’s custom-built LiDAR.

This is the second bad news for Uber in past few days. The company is already dealing with the fallout from allegations of sexual harassment, made by a former Uber employee.

Uber is yet to respond to the lawsuit.

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