Uber revealed today that some of its executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick, were aware that ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski possessed data from his previous employer. However, the ride-sharing service claims that at the time it did know about the proprietary nature of the data. Uber further argues that its former self-driving lead only took the information due to a bonus dispute with Google.
As restated in a filing today, Uber claims that it was not aware that Levandowski possessed confidential Google information until after Waymo filed suit earlier this year. Meanwhile, Google alleges that 14,000 documents were downloaded deliberately and eventually made its way into Uber’s autonomous technology.
A timeline offered by Uber stresses how during the lead-up to the Otto acquisition, Levandowski was repeatedly told not to bring over or rely on proprietary information from former employers.
Upon discovering that he possessed Google information in the form of “five discs in his home,” Levandowski told Uber executives. Kalanick “emphatically” stated that they did not want the information. Following that encounter, the eventual self-driving lead told several at Uber that the data was destroyed.
Uber goes further in countering Waymo’s claims of orchestration by suggesting that Levandowski only took the data over a bonus dispute with Google in order to have leverage:
Rather, Uber believes that the downloading was done in relation to Levandowski’s employment at Google, specifically to ensure the expected payment of Levandowski’s $120 million bonus from Google.
Unless a settlement is reached, Waymo v. Uber is expected to go on trial this coming October.