This past Friday saw a flurry of developments in Waymo’s case against Uber, including the Alphabet company toning down its patent infringement claims to focus on trade secret theft. As part of the upcoming October trial, a magistrate judge has granted Uber the ability to depose Larry Page.
Agreeing with Uber, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled (via Ars Technica) on Friday that “Larry Page has first-hand non-repetitive knowledge of relevant facts.” The judge furthermore permitted the deposition as Waymo was reserving the right to call the Alphabet CEO as a witness to possibly contradict Travis Kalanick.
The ride-sharing service alleges that Waymo is just trying to slow down a fellow competitor’s self-driving efforts with the lawsuit. Uber particularly wants to question Page on why Alphabet, an early investor, decided to make their own headway into autonomous vehicles and compete rather than form a partnership.
In a related order, the judge denied Uber’s request to subpoena documents related to Waymo and Lyft’s recently announced self-driving partnership. Similarly, Waymo on Friday filed a list of 461 questions that it wishes to ask Anthony Levandowski, a former Googler and most recently head of Uber’s self-driving efforts. This preliminary list is likely go grow before the trial in October.
Uber has been granted four hours of deposition time where Page will be under oath. The judge has also opened the possibility of Uber deposing Alphabet chief legal officer and former Uber board member David Drummond. However, this can be avoided if Alphabet explicitly agrees to not call him as a witness.