U.S. Prosecutors to Investigate Uber's Alleged Theft of Waymo's Self-Driving Trade Secrets

by

A U.S. judge presiding over Waymo's trade-secrets theft lawsuit against Uber has asked federal prosecutors to investigate the claims in the case, it emerged on Thursday (via Bloomberg).

U.S. district judge William Alsup also partially granted Waymo's bid for an injunction against Uber's self-driving efforts, and rejected Uber's arguments that the trade secret allegations should proceed in private.

waymo
Google's self-driving Waymo car division originally filed the lawsuit against Uber in February, accusing the company of stealing its self-driving intellectual property.

Specifically, former Google employee Anthony Levandowski is accused of stealing 14,000 confidential files that included data on Waymo's laser-based radar (LiDAR) system, which the company called "one of the most powerful parts" of its self-driving technology.

In referring the case to the U.S. Department of Justice, Judge Alsup said that in the absence of "smoking gun" proof of wrongdoing by Uber, he was not taking a position on whether or not charges are warranted, but noted there was "ample evidence" that Levandowski had breached his duty of loyalty to Waymo.

Uber declined to comment on the referral to prosecutors, while Levandowski has already recused himself from LiDAR-related work while the case is ongoing, but the news is yet another setback for the ride-hailing service as it attempts to revive its tarnished image following multiple controversies over recent months.

The Department of Justice is already investigating the company over its use of "secret" software that allowed its drivers to operate in areas where Uber was banned or restricted. The so-called "greyball" software is said to have allowed the company to identify undercover officials and block them from booking rides, in order to prevent them from proving that Uber was operating illegally.

Last month it emerged that Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to pull Uber's app from the App Store in early 2015 after discovering that it was secretly "fingerprinting" iPhones that used the app. Uber said it used the identification method to prevent fraud, despite knowing the tactic is a clear violation of Apple's app privacy guidelines.

Tags: Uber, Waymo

Top Rated Comments

drewyboy Avatar
48 months ago

Uber really is one of the sketchiest companies around today by far. I do love their service though.

The "I don't like them, but I like their convenience." Trading character for convenience, keep it up.

At this point, they're only in business because people turn a blind eye to the crap they've done.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LDN Avatar
48 months ago
Uber really is one of the sketchiest companies around today by far. I do love their service though.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
48 months ago
Uber involved in shady business again? Color me shocked. :rolleyes:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
48 months ago
I fear that having Otto in between gives Uber a layer of deniability. I hope there's a paper trail somewhere showing Uber knew this all along. With the long list of ethical and criminal violations this company has hanging over it, it needs to be brought down and its investors need to be left empty handed. There is no excuse for an investor to still have their money in this venture-- they read the same news we do. If they're still supporting this company they can't plead ignorance.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
78Bandit Avatar
48 months ago
You can't expect a majority of consumers to be advocates for social justice. People generally want the best product at the best price and don't think about the processes that created it. You see it all the time in animal cruelty accusations against the big farm conglomerates like Tyson. People still buy their product even though their suppliers engage in reprehensible behavior and are repeatedly outed by animal protection groups and agencies.

Ultimately that is what laws and the court system are for. They enforce behavioral codes like theft of intellectual property. Depending on consumers to even remotely give a crap, let alone pay a higher price or experience less convenience, in protest of a company's unethical behavior is an exercise in frustration. Even the best organized boycotts will fizzle out after a relatively short period of time in the absence of publicized legal intervention.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JRobinsonJr Avatar
48 months ago

Social justice? Free markets are the solution. Not government intervention.

Agreed! A lot of the issues surrounding Uber are exactly the opposite. Government collusion with the taxi/cab monopolies that don't want competition forced Uber to look for ... creative methods ... to work around the rules. Get government out of the way, level the playing field, then let the market decide.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...