Waymo: “We’re Bringing This Case Because Uber Is Cheating”

from ars technica

In a packed courtroom on the first day of the blockbuster Waymo v. Uber trade secrets trial, both sides presented their opening arguments. Charles Verhoeven, Waymo’s top lawyer, said that Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO from 2010 until mid-2017, was not playing fair in his company’s efforts to catch up with Waymo.

“The evidence is going to show that Mr. Kalanick, the CEO at the time, made a decision that winning was more important than obeying the law,” he said. “He made a decision to cheat. Because for him, winning at all costs, no matter what, was his culture and was what he was going to do. The evidence is going to do that he targeted and hired away one of its key engineers that had been with Chauffeur—that’s the name of the program—since its inception.”

Waymo v. Uber began back in February 2017, when Waymo sued Uber and accused one of its own star engineers of stealing 14,000 files shortly before he left Waymo.

The former employee, Anthony Levandowski, went on to found a company that was quickly acquired by Uber. Levandowski refused to comply with his employer’s demands during the course of this case and was fired. Uber has denied that it benefited in any way from Levandowski’s actions.

Uber has significantly more to lose: the outcome of the case will likely determine which company will end up ahead in the cutthroat and rapidly growing autonomous vehicle sector.

Verhoeven likened Uber’s behavior to a video game “cheat code.”

“I didn’t know what cheat codes were because I was too old, I don’t play video games,” he told the jury. “A cheat code is something that allows you to skip to the next level.”

He explained that the jury would see evidence, “written documents, that Kalanick said he wanted to use Levandowski to leapfrog Google.”

“We’re bringing this case because Uber is cheating,” Verhoeven continued.

More here.

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22 Responses to Waymo: “We’re Bringing This Case Because Uber Is Cheating”

  1. Christopher Karant February 9, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

    Christopher Karant

    Uber is facing a lawsuit from a company called Waymo that is in the same industry of researching and manufacturing self-autonomous cars. An employee of Waymo, Anthony Levandowski, stole top secret information before he left the company and used it to create his own company which was quickly bought by Uber. Uber bought the company for the secrets that Levandowski took with him out the door.
    Uber is now facing a lawsuit because they are using the technology that was protected by Waymo. Levandowski was in the wrong when he took documents from his company and used them to make profit for himself but he is not the one involved in this lawsuit. Waymo is suing Uber because they feel as if Uber is cheating. The executives may or may not have known where the plans came from but the important part of this case is the technology, not whether Levandowski stole it or not. Waymo will have a hard time proving that Uber was cheating because they don’t have evidence that they knew the plans were stolen. The court will probably rule in favor of Uber.

  2. Nathaniel B February 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

    In 2018, it seems as if everyone has at least heard of Uber. Of those people, it is probably safe to assume that many have used Uber. What many people do not know is the current court battle between Uber and Waymo, a driverless car project by Google. I personally was unaware of the details of this case and did not know that Uber was under controversy for stealing information from Google’s Waymo project.
    Overall this is an interesting case because of what Verhoeven is saying about Uber CEO, Kalanick. He is saying that he has not been playing fair and has used “cheat codes” to advance his business to a higher level and bypass Waymo. In competitive business markets, I believe there is a fine line, or grey area in what is considered cheating and aggressive business. In some instances, using a competitive advantage to gain ground on a competitor is okay, but I believe Uber is wrong if what they are being accused of is true. To deliberately steel files and then use them to better your own business should constitute some legal punishment. Verhoeven accused Uber in the case of disregarding the law and solely focusing on winning. “winning was more important than obeying the law.”
    The outcome of this case is very important to the future of the automobile business. The self-driving car shows promising potential for being the way of the future, and if Uber beats Waymo and Google, I believe they may have a new advantage over this soon to be profitable market. I still believe Google will have great success in the new industry, but not as much as if they should win their law-suit with Uber.
    Overall, some could argue that collusion was in effect in the situation of Anthony Levandoski, star engineer of Waymo, when he reportedly stole files just before starting employment with Kalanick. There certainly is evidence that this could have been the case, but actual proof would be needed to further the investigation. Regardless, I believe that Uber is more than likely at fault in this case for stealing information or at least for unethical business practice.

    • Jerry Wu February 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm #

      After reading the article more closely, I completely agree with Nathaniel. Since its founding in 2009, Uber has become one of the most popular apps and means to transportation every day. However, in 2018, when people are currently trying to create driverless cars, Uber and Waymo (the driverless car project by Google) have been in a court battle because Uber has been accused of taking information away from the Waymo project.
      I find this case to be very interesting because Kalanick, the Uber CEO, has been said to being playing unfairly because he is using some sort of “cheat code” while elevating his business to much higher levels and overcome Waymo as one of its top competitors of the driverless idea. In my opinion, I believe that companies should be able to use some inspiration from other company’s ideas, but a line should definitely be drawn when it comes to directly copying and stealing information from other businesses. Gaining a competitive advantage of another company should be completely legal, but can see why people think Uber was way out of line in this situation, at least when it comes to the law of the land.
      Whether the final result of this case turns out to be in favor Uber or not, it will have a significant impact on the automobile businesses. In addition, it could also have a major impact on the larger markets around the country such as the manufacturing and entertainment industries, especially when it comes to ethical issues such as copyright or just stealing information from its competitors.
      In conclusion, it is without a doubt that Uber is at fault for wrongfully taking information from Waymo and for other unethical business practices. What I took away from this article is that it is always best to be creative in your own way. This way, not one person can complain to you about stealing ideas from them.

  3. Michael Polito February 9, 2018 at 4:27 pm #

    Companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Waymo are on the rise due to the need of designated drivers or quick and cost efficient taxies. Uber and Waymo are ahead of the game because of the new self-driving cars that are becoming more and more available to the public. The technology is fairly new and the real question of whose idea it really is has become a real problem. This case will be very important because whoever wins will rise to the top of that industry. As it mentioned in the article when this technology is perfected, driving will become much safer and will cut down on fatal accidents all over the country. At the conclusion of this case, one of these companies will change the way that people get rides. From reading the article both companies feel that the idea is theirs, but Waymo feels that their intellectual property was stolen by Uber. Both these companies have something at steak during this trial. Waymo will go under because the whole purpose of their company is to have self-driving cars serve as taxies, for Uber it is their reputation that is at steak because if found guilty it Uber will have had stolen the idea and will not be able to use it for their model of the self-driving car. Whoever gets the patent for the car will be set to make a fortune because this is the future of taxis and ride services
    These ride services are very efficient and cost effective, making everything easier for the consumer or passenger of these services. While reading the article it seems that Uber is in the wrong here by hiring the man from Waymo by trying to create a false company form the man that they would buy to legitimize the transaction. Uber is a big company with a lot of money and it seems like they could be able to figure out their own technology without stealing Waymo’s idea. As the market for self-driving cars continues so does the technology and that has been displayed by Tesla. They have perfected the self-driving car and it is currently in use by people across the country. This is a bad look for Uber considering the fact that they could have figured out this technology by themselves. Regardless if they win the case it really should not matter considering the fact that the idea was created by a worker from the Waymo Company who was fired. The files were stolen and now in the hands of Uber. Unfortunately that’s how business works sometimes but covering it up with an alleged fake company is not how business works. If it is found that this is all true and Uber did commit these crimes the future of Uber doesn’t look to promising. The company will still be intact but they will add another thing to the list of things that Uber has done wrong to the people of the country. When looking up Ubers controversies there are a lot of claims out there against Uber. Considering that they have been around a couple years and some involve the CEO this will create even worse of an image for Ube no matter how the case turns out. It is unfortunate because Uber ride services are extremely efficient ways to get around. If it is found that they are stealing and committing fraud that could be the demise of Uber because more people will start to gravitate away towards them towards other companies that are just as efficient, but with less public controversy.

  4. Nicholas Marinelli February 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

    The case involving a company soon to unveil an initial public offering and one who is relatively new reminds many of a married couple going through a divorce. It has hit breaking news on all platforms today that Uber and Waymo have agreed on a settlement. Once on the verge of splitting, Google has now ensured equity in the company.
    Waymo, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, recently sued Uber for the stealing of intellectual property that involved the idea of self-driving cars and “not playing fair in the company’s efforts to catch up to Waymo”. The controversy begins with former star engineer, Anthony Levandowski, leaving Google to form his own company- Ottomotto. Uber later purchased that company, along with Levandowski working for them- who was then fired for not complying with his new employer. Waymo’s attorney claimed that Uber set up a fake company, bought it, and then claimed they were following the law. Uber’s rebuttal stated that the whole thing was a conspiracy and a lie. Waymo made the judge aware that while Levandowski was working with Google, Google has its own self-driving car project, Project Chauffeur; this plan was to compete directly with Uber. Waymo says that their lidar- the eyes of the car- is what Uber has stolen from them; Uber then testified saying that Waymo does not, nor can, own every component to the lidar technology and engineering concepts. This is interesting because the last article I wrote about showed the strengthening power of the US Patent and Trademark Office and to stop allowing patents on everything tangible and intangible. The lidar technology may have been a denied patent that Waymo tried to have approved.
    What is alarming on Uber’s part is when you read the testimony from Waymo CEO John Krafcik. He was shocked at the resignation from Levandowski, and in a conversation with former Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, he was even more confused. Kalanick had said to him- “You know, we don’t give up 1 percent of the company lightly”- at the time Krafcik was confused; however, he later put two and two together to realize that the purchase of Ottomotto was $680 million, or roughly 1% of Uber. Krafcik suspects that this is tied with Levandowski and him giving Uber the intellectual rights and plans of a self-driving car.
    Waymo have every right to be appalled in this situation, since they “believe in fair competition” and desire to advance technology ethically. For me, running a business has to be ethical and stealing property cannot at all be tolerated. If Waymo had a nondisclosure deal with Levandowski that said he could not bring the idea to a new firm, then they could have sued him for a breach of contract- but it does not seem as if such a contract exists, so they are suing Uber for creating an unfair advantage in the vesting expanding market.
    Just today, a shocking decision involving the outcome of the case riddled the news. The two sides of Waymo v. Uber reached a settlement and the case was dismissed by Judge Alsup. The trial, only five days in, was supposed to last weeks more, however current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wanted everything in the past as her company seeks to go public next year. The settlement came right before Waymo was going to present the technical aspects of the trade secrects and technology, along with Levandowski taking the stand- who was believed to assert his Fifth Amendment rights. According to The Verge, Waymo receives .34 percent of Uber’s equity- valued at $245 million- and Uber is not allowed to use the hardware, nor software, trade secrets. Waymo can now ensure that Uber will not use their intellectual property without them knowing. https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/9/16995254/waymo-uber-lawsuit-trial-settlement

  5. Joseph Lisowski February 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    There is little doubt that this tactic employed by Uber is underhanded as well as unprofessional. I understand that this is a pivotal moment in time, with self driving cars just within reach of these multinational taxi companies. But just because Uber might make huge profits does not make it acceptable to steal another company’s trade secrets. I think that based on the actions discussed in the article, Uber is not sorry for taking the secrets, it is sorry for getting caught. I know that this should not have an effect on the verdict of the trial, but I do believe that Uber should have been much more heavily penalized. After I did some research on the outcome, Waymo had only received a mere .34% of Uber’s total equity. To Uber this amount equaling $245 million is just a slap on the wrist. If I were in the Uber CEO’s shoes, this is a statement to me that I can get away with the same tactic again if need be. I feel as though as a judicial system we need to be more strict on cases such as this in order to set an example for others to follow that copyrights should be sacred. Many businesses are built upon them and it should not be acceptable behavior to send in spies to retrieve said secrets. Imagine going forward how much money businesses will have to spend doing thorough background checks on potential employees to stay safe. All things considered, I am upset with the perceived speed and unsubstantial punishment of this trial.

  6. Timothy Guerrero February 9, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    As innovation and technology suppress in this vast technological age we live amongst, there is little doubt that controversy would pursue between corporations striving to innovate, and in the realm of the future via self-driving cars, Waymo and Uber clashed. Waymo v Uber is a case in which Waymo argues that Anthony Levandowski, a prominent engineer in Waymo, abruptly left the company for the ridesharing giant, and allegedly stole classified information in the process. Levandowski would proceed to start up a similar business in Ottomoto, which was quickly acquired by Uber and its ambitious CEO at the time Travis Kalanick, and it is this very measure in which Waymo suggests that this stolen information got into the hands of Uber. However, William Carmody, a veteran lawyer on behalf of Uber, was troubled by misleading information in which Waymo did not mention, such as the claim that Levandowski’s information was not proprietary or utilized by Uber, and suggested that Waymo’s frustration stemmed from competitive hiring as opposed to technological information.

    Something that stood out, in particular, was Uber’s admission of regret in hiring Levadnwoski, suggesting it was not worth the damage and drama involved in his decision making. However, as stated within the context of the article, this lawsuit was against Uber, not Levandowski, and this is a vital concept to acknowledge in order to understand the bigger implications of this case. Waymo insisted that Uber maliciously utilized Levandowski and materials to gain an unfair advantage in the autonomous car industry, suggesting this is parallel to video game “cheat” codes. All of this makes us wonder, what exactly is cheating? The constant shuffling of employees around industries can create incentives for other companies to gain an upper hand, but is this necessarily wrong? Take your favorite sports team for instance, with mine being the Devils. Would it be considered egregious if the Devils “sweetened” a deal a little more to land a star talent? This is seen everywhere, and as long as Uber can prove that no proprietary information on behalf of Levandowski’s silly decision, then it should have a little problem fending off its rivals at Waymo, thus leading me to agree with my classmate, Chris.

  7. Matt Henry February 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm #

    Almost everyone has heard of Uber: the ride sharing app that has expanded into a worldwide tech company dominating the traveling industry. The company started in 2009 but it in less than ten years it operates in 662 cities in 77 countries and it is valued at $70 billion (uberestimate.com). These facts make Uber CEO Travis Kalanick seem like a hardworking, successful entrepreneur, but some people think Uber is cheating. Waymo is a bit of a less familiar name than Uber, but most people probably know it as Google’s self-driving car company and they have silently been ahead of Ube for many years. As another tech company started in 2009, there has always been a rivalry to try to get ahead in the industry and Waymo lawyer Charles Verhoeven claims Uber’s CEO acquired a company from a former Waymo engineer who stole over 14,00 files before leaving Waymo.
    The race between these companies to disrupt the traveling and technology industries is one of the most important races in America. The preciseness of the autonomous car will decrease accidents and traffic congestion severely. But the unfair play by Uber may cost them significant ground against Waymo. As Uber must have realized, it is too risky to lose this case and tarnish their reputation as a company. As of today, Uber ended the case by paying $244 million and agreeing not to use any of Waymo’s intellectual property. This is a smart move by Uber and a message to all companies that it is too difficult to get away with unfair play these days.

  8. Daniel Schreier February 10, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

    The case between Uber and Waymo is very interesting and important to discuss because these kind of cases will be more common, as technological companies develop, and data becomes these corporations most valued assets. However, unlike a car, or a property, data is not a physical good; therefore, a case like this would probably fit into an intellectual propriety area, which even though has had a huge development in recent years, still has to improve a lot to address society’s needs.
    Intellectual property, according to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Typically, it is mainly used for issues regarding patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Still, algorithms, computer programing, codes and other sorts of data cannot be accurately defined as being a copyright, or a patent, which is why cases like this have different interpretations, and why they are complicated and important, since they can open a huge precedent for future cases on the same issues. The purpose of Intellectual Property Law is for people to earn recognition, or benefits- mainly financial- for what they invent or create. Since innovation and creation does not limit themselves to arts or music, and more and more, innovation is becoming creating new technological stuff, which are purely data, being big or raw ones, these policies urgently need some guidance and procedural accountability, since they can become huge precedents in the future.
    This case will have huge implications for the development and research of autonomous cars, which not only Waymo and Uber are interested in. Technology giant Google, and its mother company, Alphabet had also interest in this case, and turned out to gain advantage on it. The settlement of this case granted Alphabet a slightly larger amount of Uber equity (U$S 245 million), and also allowing Waymo to keep tabs on Uber’s self-driving car project. An advantage of this settlement is that Waymo has a lot of expertise on autonomous vehicles, and thus, accelerate the development of it, and Uber can keep these program running and hopefully soon launch it on the market.

    Sources:
    https://gizmodo.com/who-won-and-who-got-totally-screwed-in-waymo-v-uber-1822866661
    http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/

  9. Andrew Kuttin February 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

    Self-driving cars are a seemingly inevitable advancement in technology. We will most likely see a reality in the coming decades where self-driving vehicles are not only accepted, but they are the norm. Just like with any revolutionary change to society, there is a massive profit incentive attached to it. A countless number of companies have dedicated incredible amounts of resources to the development of self-driving cars. Every company wants to be the first to perfect it so that they can be the first to sell it to the public. The subject of this article is a recently settled lawsuit between two of the major players in this race that will have an enormous effect on the new industry.
    Waymo, which is Google’s division dedicated to developing self-driving vehicles, is suing Uber for theft of trade secrets. One of Waymo’s star engineers Anthony Levandowski left the company and allegedly took 14,000 vital informational files with him in order to aid in starting his own company called Otto. Uber then bought that company for an obscene $680 million a few months after its inception. Text messages displayed in the courtroom showed that Uber attempted to lure Levandowski away from Waymo by proposing that they buy a “non-existent company” from him. This is what Waymo bases their claim of a violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act off. They say that alleged theft of trade secrets and founding of Otto was orchestrated from the start by Uber in order to steal the information. Uber on the other hand, claims that there was no such backroom dealings and that they simply acquired Levandowski and whatever information he possessed as an individual through competitive hiring.
    In my opinion, the burden of proof in this case falls on Waymo, but so do the facts. If text messages confirm that official Uber personnel mentioned purchasing a “non-existent” company, then it is increasingly likely that Otto was solely formed to be acquired by Uber. A puppet corporation money-laundering scheme. The only other thing that Waymo must prove is the alleged theft of 14,000 files. This article and subsequent articles I read on the subject do not mention Waymo presenting any proof towards this claim. Since the trial’s end by way of a $245 million dollar settlement in the form of Uber equity, I think that it is safe to say that Uber is in fact guilty.
    This settlement however, is a good thing for both companies. Waymo gets a stake in a rapidly successful company that is under new management with an optimistic look towards the future. Uber gets to wash the blood of the old guard off its hands and begin anew without kneecapping itself in the development of self-driving cars. I, like many others was not a fan of Travis Kalanick while he was CEO of Uber. His predatory mentality when it came to innovation led to him forcing the company into some dark caverns that damaged its image. An article from cnet.com entitled “Four Days $245 million: How Waymo v. Uber Came to an End” quoted Uber’s new leader saying “My job as Uber’s CEO is to set the course for the future of the company: innovating and growing responsibly, as well as acknowledging and correcting mistakes of the past”. With this case as a thing of the past, both Silicon Valley giants can return to healthy competition with the goal of creating a revolution in the world of tech that will forever change the world as we know it.

  10. Gabrielle Pietanza February 12, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    As an avid user of both a Google and Uber, I find it surprising that I had no knowledge of Uber’s case against Waymo, Google’s newest project focused on driverless cars. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been accused of making decisions for the purpose of winning even when unlawful. It is believed he and Uber have been using “cheat codes” such as those in video games which are used in order to skip levels that would otherwise need to be completed. The evidence of this was in the form of written documents that Kalanick wanted to use a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, in order to jump ahead of Google’s initiative.

    It is not uncommon for individuals, especially prominent employees, to look for better job opportunities. If this was truly the case in Levandowski’s situation I believe Uber has no fault. If Uber is guilty of what they are accused of however I believe they are being extremely unethical and I am a believer that innovation should occur in a fair and just way.

    Uber like many corporations does not have a clean past which is why I would not be surprised if the accusations made against them were true. Uber has made questionable decisions based on ethical ideals and practices in the past but it is important to note that Uber is not the only company like this. CEOs are able to cheat the system and tend to do so when there is a minuscule chance they will be rightfully prosecuted to the full extent of the laws they are breaking. Not until the punishments outweigh the costs will this type of behavior stop. We must hold corporations, in this case Uber, responsible for the wrongs they are committing.

    The race Uber and Waymo appear to currently have is changing both the technological and travel industries. This highly anticipated project is still in its relatively early phases of development. With that said, it is important for each of these companies to get ahead of the other and to be the first to achieve their goals. The autonomous car is predicted to decrease both common traffic and accidents and it is wrong yet understandable for Uber to strive to get ahead. With that however, this case has been settled and Uber not only took a financial hit, yet Waymo is now able to follow and receive updates on Uber’s self driving car project. This will provide Waymo and Google with an added advantage in this process. Waymo already has an expertise in the field of autonomous vehicles and I look forward to seeing what developments are made related to these projects.

  11. Antonia James February 15, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    Image is everything; thus, business ethics is concerned not only with the image of the business but also with the impact that the business has on the environment, customers, suppliers, employees and the global economy. Unethical corporate decision making can have a negative impact on the reputation of the company and the individuals who run that company. This is evident in the case of blockbuster Waymo v. Uber trade secrets trial. Waymo v. Uber began back in February 2017, when Waymo sued Uber and accused one of its own star engineers of stealing 14,000 files shortly before he left Waymo.

    In defense, Uber has denied that it benefited in any way from Levandowski’s actions. One of the main argument of this case was the fact that Waymo’s trade secrets had appeared in Uber lidar designs, the specialized sensor that helps self-driving cars. Waymo, by some measures, leads in developing self-driving-car technology, with more than 4 million miles of public road testing behind it. Uber is the upstart, launching its own autonomous vehicle program in 2015 after poaching nearly 40 robotics researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. In attempts to get ahead, Uber CEO and employees have made some unethical decision that will be costly. The court’s decision in this case is very significant. This well publicized scandal can have a substantial impact on Uber finances and reputation. Uber, have made structural changes to an old industry that functioned much the same way it did decades ago, with individuals in need of a cab having to either physically wave at a taxi at the street corner or call a local car service to reserve a car at least half an hour prior to the pickup time. It has quickly dominated its rivals by making it possible to secure a car or taxi from a smartphone from any location. With all the ideal benefits, the outcome of this case can ultimately change the future of the company. In the past companies once considered leaders in their industry such as Enron and Arthur Andersen, were brought down by unethical behavior of a few.

    This case also highlighted the risk company faces when employees with important knowledge that gave the company a competitive advantage terminate their employment. Employees are intangible resources that are less visible and very difficult for competitors to analyze. It is the firm intellectual capital such as employee knowledge that often plays a more crucial role in the corporate success than do physical asset. That may be the reason why Uber took such drastic measures to gain the information. Even though Uber maintained that they haven’t used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology both parties agreed to a settlement. Uber agreed to pay $245 million worth of its own shares to Waymo, meaning the Google-owned self-driving company will acquire a 0.34 percent stake in Uber’s $72 billion current valuations. While we already know the financial cost, only time will tell how this will affect their reputation.

  12. Coby Dunn February 15, 2018 at 7:08 pm #

    The case of waymo vs. Uber presents a very interesting case. Waymo has accused Uber of “Cheating” and using their trade secrets to speed up their business. Waymo and Uber are top competitors in the auto business. Waymo is trying to introduce self-driving cars into the market. If Uber does not keep up with this, they will lose business, and will no longer be able to compete with Waymo. So, this dispute is not just about who stole who’s idea, it is about the future of each company and how well they will be able to compete with each other. The outcome of this case will determine who gets an upper hand in the industry. Based on what I have read, I fell that both companies are currently pounding the table. Waymo does not have concrete proof that Uber stole their ideas, and Uber is stuck trying to disprove allegations against them. Uber’s strongest argument against Waymo’s “conspiracy theory” is that Waymo does not have privacy rights over ideas. Uber believes that engineering principles and innovations do not fall under Waymo’s trade secrets. The problem however, is that Waymo believes they do. This case is showing two companies that are butting heads on every aspect of this case. Now, we have to come to a conclusion of whether or not Uber stole ideas. Another aspect to this case is Levandowski. Waymo claims that Levandowski left their company, formed his own, and sold it to Uber. The problem with this however, is that Levandowski, a previous engineer at Waymo, took his ideas with him and gave them to Uber. While this sounds like enough to hurt Uber in this trial, Uber denies that claim. They said they did buy Levandowski’s company, but that the information they received from him was not a trade secret from Waymo. This goes back to Uber’s claim that Waymo cannot claim ideas. Waymo and Uber are going to continue this dispute, but the bottom line is, the outcome of this case will determine which company gains an upper hand in their industry. Personally, I think Uber exploited Levandowski for his information, but it is hard to prove that Uber actually took trade secrets from Waymo.

  13. marcello bertuzzelli February 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

    In a world of technological advancements, self-driving cars seem inevitable. However, there is a lot more going on in the background that we don’t know about. In the case of Waymo vs Uber you can read about some of the background info on each company to find out what exactly they are about. This case is a large dispute brought to court by Waymo, accusing Uber of “cheating”. These two companies are at the top of the totem pole, but Waymo is making the leap forward to introduce self-driving cars to their company and in hopes, reduce the amount of car accidents that happen. That sounds like the greatest thing on earth right? Who would want to use Uber after that? In order to keep things competitive, Uber would have to meet there maker and match Waymo’s advancements. Some time transpired and one of Waymo’s workers left. Allegedly he brought with him fourteen thousand files and went to google. He was trying new things when Uber reached out and bought his ideas. This is what gave Waymo an argument, but the fourteen thousand files were seen as unimportant. Waymo still wanted to Uber to pay for the time and effort that went missing. This case is very back and forth between two big companies, but who is in the righter way? There is a large lack of evidence which makes the outcome hard to find. There are many good arguments brought up and even better disputes made in defense. I see an exploitation of information from Uber. It only seems logical. What else would they have used Levandowski and all his acquired information for? They would not have used it to deliver coffees to other employees, that’s for sure.

  14. Tanner Purcel February 16, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

    The 2018 case of Waymo V. Uber is a messy case that involved an up and coming project that would allow for driverless cars. Uber was being sued by Waymo for hiring a former employee of the company and stealing classified information from Google’s Waymo project. Verhoeven has accused the former CEO of Uber CEO, Kalanick, for playing unfair and using cheat codes to advance past Waymo. Anthony Levandowski, one of Waymo’s “star engineers”, left the company and is accused of taking 14000 files with him in order to start his own company. Uber bought that company, and there are messages which show that Uber tried to persuade Levandowski away from Waymo, and offered to buy a “non-existent company” from him. Waymo’s lawsuit is based off these messages, as it is in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act off. Uber claims that they legally and faithfully bought Levandowski’s business and hired him.
    A couple days ago, Waymo settled with Uber a $245 million settlement. This settlement could possibly be seen as a win for both companies, as Uber seemed guilty and this settlement was a way for them to move on from it. Uber has been feeling the pressure from google and attempted to get a leg up on them. Both these companies want to further their development in this race for self-driving cars, and they are looking for anyway to get a step-up on the competition. It is important for them to remember that not only is their image and reputation determined on how their cars come out, but also the lives of innocent citizens that use their products.

  15. Christopher Salimbene February 16, 2018 at 10:04 pm #

    Companies such as Uber and Waymo are on the rise to be successful taxi businesses in the future with affordable costs. Uber and Waymo are more known taxi companies because of the amount of advertising these two businesses have while Lyft has a poor amount of customers that follow their business. As of 2018, Uber is the most known business from all three of these taxi companies and a business that will continue to rise in the future. However, there has been reports that Uber owner, Travis Kalanick, has been finding way to promote the business by cheap ways to conduct more customers to use Uber rather than any other taxi company in America. In some events, he used cheap costs to represent why people should use Uber but then increased these costs later on in the business for a higher profit than Waymo. Also, Kalanick mentioned how he used “cheat codes” to elevate his business against Waymo and overcome them with more customers day by day. I believe that Uber and Waymo are at equal lines and both of these businesses will succeed with similar numbers in the future when it comes to amount of customers, drivers, and profit. Uber could be more popular today than Waymo but Waymo could always figure out a solution to promote more drivers or customers with better wages and cheaper trips.

    Futhermore, I believe that Uber has a high competitive advantage against Waymo because Uber came up with the idea first to have a cheaper taxi company for people and assume that they stole the idea from Waymo. Uber has more experience than Waymo and knows how to control its business however, Uber tends to steal some ideas from Waymo and I think that Uber should be creative with their business, and come up with their own objectives. Uber is a huge, talented company with technology and they will do whatever it takes to overcome Waymo, and succeed better with population and profit. Uber can afford their own technology without stealing ideas from Waymo and use that technology to have a variety of advantage against Waymo. However, if it’s true that Uber committing a cheating crime against Waymo and use their files, then Uber’s business would decrease slowly and Waymo would end up being the top taxi company in the future. Also, Waymo would add another thing to the list that Uber has done wrong to them and this could be remembered for an extended period of time to realize that Uber isn’t the right taxi company for people to use. If Uber creates its own ideas and attempts to have better advantages than Waymo, then Uber would retain being the top taxi company and maintain a popular business that it has today.

    Finally, from this situation, I believe that Uber is at fault for this issue because stealing information from a different taxi company will hurt their company and cause less people to contact Uber drivers for rides. Customers wouldn’t prefer to do business with a taxi company that uses “cheat codes” and steals another taxi company’s idea, and would rather do business with a company that is creative and offers fair deals toward them. According to Waymo, they mentioned how Uber disregarding the law and focusing more toward winning competitions for a successful business, and to overcome advantages toward Waymo. I think that this isn’t fair to Waymo because they could have been a better taxi company than Uber, if Uber didn’t steal ideas from them and followed the law as a fair business. I believe that Uber should have just been creative with their own ideas so that they wouldn’t create drama with Waymo and have different ideas that other companies can learn from in the future. Waymo should have great success in the future because they know some advantages that they have to overcome Uber’s business and would learn from what Uber obeyed against the law to figure out ideas for more customers than Uber. Overall, I believe that Uber is in a tough situation with this incident against Waymo and will have to overcome ideas that would release all of this drama, and find a solution that would cause them to retain being a highly successful taxi company in America.

  16. Patrick Day February 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm #

    This case between Waymo and Uber will be going down into history because of how immense the future of this industry will turn out to be. The winner of this case will be able to receive a patent for an automatic taxi service and will rise to the top of the industry to dominate the future of taxi services. The reason that this case is occurring is because of Waymo believes that Uber has stolen intellectual property in order to get an advantage in the competition. Uber did not really go inside and stole their files. All Uber did was buy out the company Anthony Levandowski was creating with the files that he took from Waymo previously. Levandowski was the one that stole the files so Waymo should be focused on that but instead they are wasting their time on trying to take Uber down just because Uber took advantage of an opportunity that was given to them. Even though Uber seems to made a bad decision for buying out a company that was made from information that was stolen from Waymo, Waymo had several months to deal with this problem prior to Uber buying it. After Uber decided to buy Levandowski’s company Ottomotto it is stated in the article, “Waymo: “We’re bringing this case because Uber is cheating”” that Uber regretted to bring Levandowski into their company because of his sketchy behavior that he does. I agree with Michael that it has become a real problem of who actually came up with the idea of the self- driving cars and any other new technology that is being made with it.
    The future of the car industry and taxi service will cause a lot less accidents to occur on the roads. Along with less accidents, the driving will be more efficient once most cars become driverless. With efficiency, people can get to their locations faster at a cheaper cost since it takes less time and gas to get to the next location. If Uber were to commit these crimes, Uber would take a big hit and they will have a bad name to their reputation to do something very immoral against the country. Uber could have figured out other ways to receive the information without just buying out other companies that have the information especially those with information that is not even legal. It is not amusing watching big companies like Uber try to cut corners like that since it can cause a fallout and effect the economy in a negative way. Many customers will feel uncomfortable that they use a service that stole information from a different taxi company just to keep up with them. Waymo will be able to rise to the top of the taxi industry and will always be aware of when a different company may come after this intellectual property.

  17. Steven Merunka February 22, 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    Uber is under fire for the accusation from Waymo that files from their technology was obtained by Uber by a previous employee and destroyed the gap Waymo had made for itself. After the accusation and in court Uber denies and involvement in such activities. The former employee used those stolen files and made his company which was quickly bought by Uber however, Uber states that the purchase of the company did not gain any unfair advantage on Waymo.
    This is a very important case because if files were stolen and used by Uber it is a crime. Waymo has contracts and patents to protect all use of their technologies by other parties illegal and they feel as though Uber has done just that. However I feel as though that they did not do such a thing because Uber focuses more on services rather than the technology behind the works. They try to implement a safe and friendly environment for their customers and the have successfully done so.
    As an overview I believe that stealing ideas from another company will negatively affect your business. If people find out that the foundation of your company is filled with cheat codes and easy alternatives rather than hard work and determination people will not call for Uber. People tend to hold their hearts of their sleeves and make choices based on how they feel . If they feel your company cheated their way to the top they will not support you and all the trouble you went through to get to the top position will be for nothing.

  18. Sydney V February 23, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Although I am a frequent user of Uber, I don’t know much about the company or its technology. From this article, I was able to get a small insight into the company I use so often, and learn more about what has been going on in this industry. I was unaware of the Waymo v Uber case, and the conspiracy against Uber. What truly interested me in this article and the case was the argument of “is it engineering logic or trade secrets?” Carmondy said, “when engineers move jobs, they “don’t get a lobotomy” and are free to retain the knowledge from one company to the next, but acknowledged that they cannot use “trade secrets.” This is such a grey area because it is hard to distinguish what is someone else’s intellectual property and what is up and coming technology. When does an employee cross the line with something like this? Did Levandowski really share trade secrets or did he take the knowledge he learned from his job and apply his experience to a new project?
    Levandowski stole 14,000 files, which is grounds for suspicion. What is in the files that he downloaded can speak to what information he took with him when he left the company. In my opinion, the files he took are trade secrets. Any information that was specific to Waymo is their property and current and past employees have the obligation to protect these secrets. The trade secrets the have is part of their strategy and part of their specific business operation. They have researched and developed these practices and tactics which means it belongs to them. Technology and engineering skills, however, are different. If I become proficient in excel and learn how to use an SAP program, there is nothing that can forbid me from using the skills I have learned and developed at my next job. Much like an engineer who learns about new technology and helps in the advancement of that technology is allowed to take the skills they learn and apply them again. In my opinion, Levandowski was entitled to the information he gained about the technology he had worked on while at Waymo, and I do not believe that that is something that has to be proven in this case. The real problem is whether Uber and Levandowski worked together to conspire against Uber.

  19. zhijie Yang February 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm #

    Uber is currently the most expensive unlisted start-up in the world, and the unpiloted technology is a matter of life and death for Uber. If the lawsuit lost, Uber will not be able to catch up the rivals who earlier than their developing self-driving technology, they will lose a high valuation, even cannot listed, investors will not be able to smooth out.
    Therefore, it is no wonder that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick often said that development of self-driving technology for Uber was the crucial event of “survival”, if there are competitors launch unmanned services, it can be easily replicated Uber core business (ferry passengers), and there’s no need to pay Uber the largest cost (to pay the cost drivers), Uber would lose everything.
    However, there is no denying that the lawsuit will have a negative impact on Uber’s future hiring of autonomous vehicles. On the one hand is Uber attitude in the face of an emergency, when their core employees facing serious charges, they does not represent attitude with protect, however, pushing him out the rap, it was somewhat disappointing. On the other hand, the company which has been poached will launch an investigation to prevent the company’s technology from being used free of charge by competitors such as Uber, creating a lot of unnecessary trouble.
    In fact this is already happening, Waymo and Tesla were reported to have for those a warning who want to go out in the future business or move to rival the staff issued, they don’t try to ignore the non-compete agreement and infringe the company’s trade secrets and patent, otherwise the company will not turn a blind eye to it. And this is unthinkable in the past, contrary to silicon valley’s tradition of tolerance of “rebellion”! But then, after gm’s $10 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation in March 2016, Waymo and Tesla began losing core staff.
    On the bright side of the whole self-driving car industry, Silicon Valley star companies are very optimistic about the feasibility of self-driving car technology and its future market potential. This time, Waymo and Uber have filed patent lawsuits for technology that has not yet been commercialized on a large scale. In addition, Google has never voluntarily sued a company for a patent, usually the subject of a lawsuit. All this shows the bright future of self-driving car industry from the side.
    On the bad side, the start-up situation is likely to become more difficult, further slowing the progress of self-driving car technology. Since self-driving cars are not technically mature, the energy of IT companies, traditional car companies and startups are all focused on key technology breakthroughs and technical verification. Once the tacit agreement is broken and the patent war is set off, the living environment of the start-up company will become very bad in a short time.

  20. Jon Cortes March 30, 2018 at 9:34 pm #

    When using Uber to share a ride and be dropped off at your destination, we often forget that not everyone thinks this company knows what they’re doing. Waymo, the self driving car company is suing Uber, accusing a former employee of stealing their files and distributing them with the people he now works for before he left Waymo. His name is Anthony Levandowski, and he refused to participate in the case in any way, shape or form. He was promptly fired and now Uber is left to defend themselves in order to prove that they did not receive any illegal files while Levandowski was working for them. Waymo claims that Uber was using their files to find out how they did business, so they could replicate these actions and make more money. They accused the CEO of cheating and attempting to create their own self driving cars to use for business purposes. Uber however, denies this and or having any knowledge of Waymo’s practices or technology. They believe Waymo is attempting to extort money from the company and their claims of stealing files is nothing but counterfeit. If Uber is so quick to dismiss these claims, I believe that they are innocent of any unintentional wrongdoing. If Waymo is so afraid that their files could fall into the wrong hands, why didn’t they take precautions so no employees could walk out the door with them? If they are looking for someone to blame, they only have themselves to at this point. Uber is definitely not interested in using self driving cars for their service. Even if they were, they would still be years away from being able to pick up and drop off passengers without fear of the vehicle crashing and killing the rider. Levandowski likely didn’t know what he was doing, and didn’t think the company would fly off the handle at the first sign of file sharing. Perhaps if Waymo spent more time working on their technology and not accusing others of stealing it, they wouldn’t have to worry about what Uber may or may not have seen because of their former employee. It doesn’t matter which side is to blame, both companies have a responsibility to their customers to provide new and different ways of transporting items on the road. If you believe someone is attempting to steal your ideas and pass them off as their own, you definitely have a right to pursue a lawsuit against them. However, when presenting your case in a court of law, it’s imperative that you have proof of the alleged crime, documents from the former employee’s resignation, and testimonies from witnesses who saw what happened. Waymo seems more interested in gaining a profit rather than seeking justice from what may have happened or not. These are serious accusations and a company should not accuse another of cheating unless they’re positive that the other is to blame. Employee negligence is one thing and industrial espionage is another, best left to professionals who know the difference between the two. Waymo should be more focused on the worker who may have leaked company secrets rather than taking it all out on Uber, who most likely did not know anything about it.

  21. Alyssa Heagy April 6, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

    In the article, Cyrus Farivar, brings up some interesting points about the Waymo vs Uber case trial. Both Uber and Waymo are trying and competing to be the first company to put self-driving cars on the market. I agree that this case does play a large role in who will come out ahead in the market, but with Uber hiring Levandowski, it led to their ultimate down fall. It was unethical to steal files and, as Waymo would say, “cheat”. The case ended with Uber apologizing and no longer going to use any technology that Waymo was using. This brought Uber back in the race. Another set back to Uber was recently, I heard about the crash of one of Uber’s self driving cars. This crash was when someone had come out into the street and was hit. This may have not been the self driving cars fault entirely but it does raise questions if it were a child who ran in the street on accidents. These set backs brings Waymo to a bigger advantage. Another crash happened in Arizona that killed someone in an Uber self driving car. This was not Uber’s fault as the light was said to be yellow and someone came out. This raises the question that if there was a driver in the seat of the self driving car would they have been able to avoid this situation? Maybe if they reacted fact enough. This doesn’t look good for Uber’s name in the self driving car market. Self-driving cars still have a long way to come in technology, information, and research.
    This will be great for the market and budgets for both sides. If completely successful and far down the line in time. They would no longer have to pay for drivers. This will be a huge profit increase for business. This would put some out of a job but it might open up a job like maintenance team for maintaining the car if it were to break down or need gas along its route.
    I think once self-driving cars becomes a true reality everyone will be hesitant at first to be in them. It will definitely be a cultural and national change. Personally, I would be hesitant to be in a self-driving car but if I warmed up to it and got used to it. It would grow on me to like it. In the article it points lout that it would save thousands of lives. This is very true. Car crashes and accidents happen all the time. This is usually never a car problem it is the driver who is responsible who wasn’t driving right, not paying attention or even worse distracting themselves. These distractions list from eating, texting, calling, and multi-tasking. This also helps people who can’t drive such as those paralyzed in their legs, those intoxicated, and others who can’t drive. This will be a major decrease in accidents and deaths for drunk drivers.

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