Uber responds to Waymo: We don't even use that tech you say we stole

LiDAR? I barely know her!

Uber has filed its response to Waymo's trade secret suit, arguing it does not even use the self-driving car technology described in the complaint.

In a filing [PDF] to the California Northern US District Court made Friday, the dial-a-ride app builder says the LiDAR sensor technology at the heart of the suit is not employed in Uber self-driving cars.

Specifically, Uber is trying to convince the court not to issue an injunction that would force it to stop its work on self-driving cars – something the ride-sharing house believes would be disastrous for its long-term business.

Waymo asked for that injunction earlier this year when it sued Uber and former employee Anthony Levandowski – whose company Ottomotto had been acquired by Waymo – alleging the Waymo engineer conspired with Uber to steal Waymo's LiDAR navigation technology and designs.

In the counter-filing, Uber argues that its own LiDAR-based self-driving car scheme is based on a far different design that utilizes four different lenses to send and receive light when navigating roads, rather than the single-lens design Waymo uses.

"Waymo could not be more wrong, and Uber's design could not be more different," Uber argues. "And no wonder – Uber's LiDAR was developed by a different team, using a different beam pattern, and leveraging different know-how."

Additionally, Uber argues that since asking for the injunction, Waymo has not produced evidence to support its allegations.

"Waymo has been sitting on the information that underpins its allegations of downloads of Waymo documents since October, but filed suit only in February and filed this motion only in March," Uber claims.

Further complicating matters, Uber says, is Levandowski's own decision to invoke Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, something Uber believes is hampering its own defense against the charges.

"To be sure, Uber finds itself in a complicated situation: it is unambiguously developing its own technology independent of Waymo, but its employee Mr Levandowski is accused of downloading 14,000 files from Waymo before he joined Uber," the filing reads.

"Uber is blocked at this stage from providing an explanation against that accusation because Mr Levandowski has asserted his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights."

Finally, Uber concludes, should Judge William Alsup grant the Waymo request for an injunction, he would be depriving society as a whole of the awesome privilege of seeing Uber cars get t-boned in the desert.

"To hinder Uber's continued progress in its independent development of an in-house LiDAR that is fundamentally different than Waymo's, when Uber has not used any of Waymo's trade secrets, would impede Uber's efforts to remain a viable business, stifle the talent and ingenuity that are the primary drivers of this emerging industry, and risk delaying the implementation of technology that could prevent car accidents," Uber's lawyers surmise.

"Ultimately, that would be harmful to the public." ®

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