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More Self-Driving Car Trade Secret Fallout — Waymo v. Uber

May 16, 2017

An earlier post here deal with allegations by Telsa that a former employee had stolen trade-secret information and taken it to a new startup. This latest article has a remarkably similar story, but involving an individual leaving Waymo and joining Uber:

Uber has escaped a court order that could have effectively halted its self-driving car program, leaving the ride-hailing giant — for now — free to continue working on the technology expected to be vital to its future.

But the world’s most valuable startup must move forward without one of its top engineers when it comes to development of a key sensor that lets autonomous cars “see” the road, a federal judge ruled in an order made public Monday. Uber also must use the “full extent” of its authority to prevent that engineer — Anthony Levandowski — and all other employees from using material allegedly stolen from rival Waymo, and force them to return the purloined documents by May 31.

The pattern is a classic one in trade secret litigation; I’ve dealt with it time and again as an expert witness, as a neutral expert, and even as a mediator.

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