But if Waymo can piece together a compelling narrative of Uber malfeasance and cheatery with Kalanick and Levandowski at its center, the company might sway the trial’s 10 jurors to award it billions in damages.
On Monday, Judge William Aslup declared that Waymo was not allowed to present financial figures during the trial since it may influence the jury in an unfair way and it was ordered to focus only on trade secrets exclusively, which could favor Uber in the trial in case they loss in terms of the amount of money they’d have to pay for damage caused.
Chris Urmson, shown here last March at South by Southwest Interactive with Google’s prototype self-driving auto, announced that he would be departing the search company, where he was chief technology officer for its autonomous vehicle project for seven years. But Sasha Zbrozek, the Waymo engineer who built the server, told the company’s lawyers that the files were low-value enough that Waymo had considered hosting them off its infrastructure.
Or-worst case scenario for Uber-the judge to grant it an injunction that will shut down the ridehail company’s self-driving vehicle arm, at least until Waymo gains back whatever head start it lost to Uber.
At the time, Waymo said Uber’s designs for an autonomous auto shared a “striking resemblance” with its own.
“This case is about two competitors where one competitor decided they needed to win at all costs”, Verhoeven said. The case could redefine how Silicon Valley does business.
In Waymo’s version, Uber was cast as Rosie Ruiz, the marathon runner who took the subway for part of the course. Waymo’s lead lawyer portrayed his own client, which had started its self-driving auto program in 2009, as a company that had built an insurmountable lead over Uber and its then-CEO Travis Kalanick, which began to build an autonomous vehicle team by hiring engineers from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015.
Although he is expected to take the stand in this case, it’s unlikely that Levandowski will say much. Because of the secret nature of the documents set to be presented in court, at points in the testimony everyone other than lawyers, the jury, and Judge William Alsup will be asked to leave the courtroom. In 2016, Levandowski started a driverless-truck company, Otto; quit his job at Waymo; and, months later, sold Otto to Uber, becoming an Uber executive.
Documents introduced in court showed that Levandowski downloaded 14,000 documents from Waymo the same day he met with Uber in 2015.
‘I said that he – that we, as a whole – need to make sure that content does not make it to Uber, and that he needs to talk to attorneys to figure out how to make sure that’s done properly, Kalanick said in July.
The courtroom trial between Uber and Waymo over stolen self-driving auto secrets starts today, and no-one is more important than Andrew Levandowski.
Uber lawyers also began laying the groundwork for a broader claim about engineering.
“That was quite a story, but I’m going to tell you right upfront: It didn’t happen”. “There is no conspiracy”.
Waymo, which started under the Google banner before being spun off as a separate entity, spent years and more than US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) on research and development of driverless cars.
Google was also an early investor in Uber, a relationship that later soured.
Waymo has said Uber misappropriated eight of its trade secrets, a lot of them having to do with lidar (light detection and ranging) devices that measure distances using lasers.
“Waymo bears the burden of establishing that each and every one of these so-called trade secrets are actual trade secrets”, said Uber attorney Bill Carmody.
During Kalanick’s July deposition, a first grilling that lasted more than six hours, Waymo focused on a meeting he and other Uber executives had with Levandowski in March 2016.
The Warriors ended up winning an National Basketball Association championship the next season.