SAN FRANCISCO (NYT) — Waymo, the self-driving car business spun out of Google’s parent company, claimed in a lawsuit that Uber was using intellectual property stolen by one of Google’s former project leaders.
In a federal court filing in San Francisco, Waymo said Anthony Levandowski, who runs Uber’s autonomous car division, downloaded 14,000 files from Google a month before leaving to start his own self-driving car company, Otto. Uber acquired Otto in August 2016 for $680 million, about seven months after Mr. Levandowski left Google.
“Otto and Uber have taken Waymo’s intellectual property so that they could avoid incurring the risk, time, and expense of independently developing their own technology,” the company said in the filing. “Ultimately, this calculated theft reportedly netted Otto employees over half a billion dollars and allowed Uber to revive a stalled program, all at Waymo’s expense.”
Uber did not respond to requests for comment.