The long-running rivalry between Uber and Google has taken many twists and turns. The two companies have been competing to hire talent and to race ahead of each other in technologies like driverless cars.
Now, the latest fracas between the technology behemoths is heading into uncertain legal waters.
It all began last month, when Google’s sister company that focuses on self-driving cars, Waymo, sued Uber for using stolen intellectual property in its autonomous vehicles. Though the case could eventually end up going to trial, Uber made a push on Wednesday for parts of the lawsuit to be settled through arbitration, writes Daisuke Wakabayashi, a tech reporter for The New York Times.
Specifically, Uber revealed in a new court document that Waymo previously pursued arbitration with Anthony Levandowski, who formerly worked on Google’s self-driving cars and is now the head of Uber’s autonomous car unit. According to the filing, Waymo went the arbitration route with Mr. Levandowski last October over its contention that he tried to hire Google employees by using confidential salary information from the company. It’s unclear what the outcome of the arbitration was.
Uber’s implication with the new court filing? That the latest accusations, that Mr. Levandowski stole intellectual property from Google, can also be handled by arbitration. A court trial, where more details could spill out, is not the way forward, Uber suggests.
The ride-hailing company also wants the court to declare that Waymo’s allegations that it stole trade secrets and competed unfairly are “meritless.”
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