The court case relates to the two companies’ self-driving technology units; Waymo (Alphabet) and Otto (Uber).
According to a lawsuit filed in a San Francisco court on Thursday, Alphabet is alleging that the taxi-hailing giant has stolen patents and trade secrets, claiming that Uber’s designs for a driverless car share a “striking resemblance” with its own.
Weirdly, the allegations stem from an email sent from one of Uber’s component suppliers who “apparently inadvertently” copied in members of the Waymo team on an email.
The email reportedly contained various images and drawings of Uber’s Otto technology and its 3D sensors which contained Alphabet trade secrets, according to Alphabet.
The company is also claiming that one of Waymo’s former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, “downloaded more than 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary files shortly before his resignation”.
The lawsuit adds that Levandowski took “extraordinary efforts to raid Waymo’s design server and then conceal his activities”.
The story is made even more interesting by the fact that the engineer left Alphabet to launch his own self-driving truck company called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber.
In a statement, Alphabet said: “Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company.”
Story by ProactiveInvestors