Waymo's lawyers point out that Uber lawyers discussed the matter just days after Anthony Levandowski resigned from Google, months before any acquisition.
Uber lawyers discussed potential legal issues surrounding the controversial acquisition of Otto, the startup founded by the former head of Google's autonomous car division, Anthony Levandowski, according to lawsuit filings spotted by USA Today.
The internal correspondence between Uber lawyers was reportedly included in 700 pages of documents submitted for the company's ongoing legal battle with Waymo, the Alphabet spinoff that started as Google's self-driving car project.
"So we have this incredible situation where days after Mr. Levandowski leaves Google, and months and months before any acquisition, it's being discussed in email," said an attorney representing Waymo in the lawsuit.
Waymo has accused Levandowski of downloading 14,000 proprietary design files before leaving Google, then forming a startup, Otto, that was allegedly created with the intent of an immediate acquisition by Uber. Once at Uber, Levandowski allegedly used the stolen design files to replicate Waymo's critical LiDAR sensor system for his new employer.
US District Court Judge William Alsup appears to have voiced frustration with Uber's resistance to locating the allegedly stolen files, which serve as the basis for allegations of stolen intellectual property.
The case could have a significant impact in the highly competitive world of autonomous car development, as startups and Silicon Valley giants race alongside established automakers to build the first fully-autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing services, cargo transportation, public transit and consumers.