In the latest development of Waymo and Uber's high-stakes legal battle over an alleged intellectual property theft, the Alphabet-owned company is now seeking a payment of $2.6 billion from Uber — for one out of nine allegedly stolen trade secret.
Waymo vs Uber: Alphabet Seeking Billions For One Alleged Theft
Waymo went to court with Uber on Sept. 20 to discuss whether a trial in the case will begin in October, but during the hearing, Uber's camp revealed the exact amount Alphabet is seeking in damages for a single trade secret the company claims a former Uber executive stole.
The amount Waymo is seeking has not been made public until now. It had been redacted from court filings, as Recode reports. Uber attorney Bill Carmody was the one who disclosed the amount in the hearing.
Uber vs Waymo
For those unaware, Alphabet, parent company of Google and owner of Waymo, is suing Uber for trade secret misappropriation, claiming one of Uber's former top executives Anthony Levandowski stole over 14,000 files when he left Google to work for Uber after acquiring his self-driving startup company Otto. Uber says none of those files made it to its servers.
Countering Alphabet, Uber says the "inflated" claims are merely based on the company speculating future profits and cost savings in the driverless technology field, which is expected to explode in the coming years. This high-stakes legal battle underscores both companies' interest in the market.
It remains a question exactly how much Alphabet is seeking for each of the other eight trade secrets, and it's still unclear what trade secret the company is seeking $2.6 billion for. To be clear, should Alphabet win on its claims, it wouldn't receive the total amount of damages for every trade secret. It would simply receive the highest amount it's asking for. Suppose $2.6 billion is the highest, it would receive only that much.
The battle has led to the firing of Levandowski himself, who had a major hand in Uber's development of self-driving technology. A potential trial loss by Uber will add to its hefty list of headaches amid sexual harassment controversies, executive-level departures, and a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, trying to fix them all.
Jury selection is scheduled for Oct. 10, but as mentioned, Alphabet is trying to delay the trial, arguing it needs more time to assess newly obtained data that might be critical to the case. Uber, meanwhile, says Alphabet is merely trying to stall the proceedings because its allegations have weakened.