This is the process that the Silicon Valley is waiting – and fearing – for months. Two giants battling it since Monday, February 5, before the federal district court of Northern California, San Francisco. Waymo, a subsidiary of autonomous cars from Google, sued Uber for stealing technologies. In the background, it is the culture of the Valley, which is once again on the bench of the accused. Spy on rivals, hunt engineers competition : a universe where it must be the first and preferably the only one.
Input, counsel for Waymo, Charles Verhoeven, asked the scenery. In 2015, the pressure was such that in the area of the autonomous car, he said, that the CEO of Uber, at the time, Travis Kalanick, has realized that it was a matter of survival for his company :
“Google was very in advance. Mr. Kalanick has decided that winning was more important than obeying the law. We carry the complaint, because Uber has cheated. They have stolen our technology. ”
Waymo accuses Uber of having recruited the engineer of the stars of his program of vehicles without chauffeur, Anthony Levandowski, in order to receive the eight secrets bearing on the use of Lidar (a system of detection by laser, which allows autonomous vehicles to recognize shapes).
According to the subsidiary of Google, the calendar speaks for itself. December 11, 2015, Levandowski has downloaded 14 000 documents, prior to departure of Waymo. On January 15, 2016, he founded the start-up of Otto, which specializes in trucks self-reliant. On 22 February, he signed a memorandum of agreement with Uber. On 23 August, Uber was counteracted officially Otto and his 25 employees for $ 680 million.
In the name of Uber, the lawyer Bill Carmody responded that there had been ” neither conspiracy nor cheating “. At no time is the company of VTC has used the technology uploaded by Anthony Levandowski, a-t-he assured. No trace of the 14 000 files downloaded by the engineer…