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Five critical questions on how the Waymo v. Uber trial will proceed

/ Anthony Levandowski, VP of engineering at Uber, chatting with newshounds at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center on September 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Waymo v. Uber
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SAN FRANCISCO—At a listening to that stretched for greater than 4 hours the day prior to this, legal professionals for Waymo and Uber hammered out the ultimate laws that will govern what proof is introduced of their upcoming trial. Here are 5 questions that all sides view as paramount for buying their aspect of the tale out to the jury.

Before that, here is a fast roundup of the Waymo v. Uber fundamentals. Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer, stole 14,000 recordsdata simply prior to he left Google to create his personal startup, Otto. Within months, he bought Otto to Uber for $680 million and was the head of Uber’s self-driving automotive undertaking. Levandowski, who isn’t a defendant in the case, pled the Fifth Amendment fairly than resolution questions about the allegations. He was once fired after he would not agree to court docket orders associated with discovery.

Uber denies any of the business secrets and techniques ever were given to its servers, and the corporate says its self-driving automotive generation was once constructed independently.

The case is nearing trial on October 10. Waymo has requested for that date to be driven again, however US District Judge William Alsup, who’s overseeing the case, hasn’t dominated on that request but.

Without additional ado, listed below are a few of the key questions that the two corporations fought over, which will govern the laws of how they are able to provide their tale. There have been dozens of motions filed over court docket court cases, however those have been the maximum hotly-debated. In all instances, Judge Alsup will be issuing a ruling on them later, in writing.

When did every aspect get their proof, and what will the jury listen about it?

Waymo is disenchanted about how overdue it were given a few of the key proof in the case—together with the “due diligence” document which knowledgeable Uber executives about dangers related to purchasing Levandowski’s startup.

A key a part of Uber’s case is its argument that no matter Levandowski can have completed, none of it made to Uber servers—proved via intensive searches. Waymo needs to position limits on what Uber can say about that looking, arguing they did not get a enough probability to fact-check it thru depositions and discovery.

“He was going to tell the jury about all the searching they did, I don’t know how many servers,” mentioned Waymo legal professional Charles Verhoeven. “He had his whole spiel, he’s repeated it every time. But we can’t test that,” as a result of they have not but deposed the knowledgeable who did the searches.

“They’ve been in our house, a dozen times,” countered Uber legal professional Arturo Gonzalez. “They had inspections, we fired Levandowski, and our expert used search terms that they gave us.” The knowledgeable who did the searches will be deposed, and will testify, Gonzalez confident the pass judgement on.

Can Uber painting Levandowski as uncooperative?

How Levandowski will get portrayed is vital to the case for all sides, since he would possibly neatly finally end up being pressured to testify in court docket after which plead the Fifth Amendment on the stand.

Waymo legal professionals say Uber should not be allowed to successfully throw Levandowski beneath the bus, as a result of they won so little proof throughout discovery about his alleged non-cooperation.

“I took the deposition of Mr. [Travis] Kalanick [the former CEO of Uber],” Verhoeven mentioned. “Anytime I asked him about something where a lawyer was in the room—which was almost 100 percent of the time—Mr. Kalanick was instructed not to answer. So I have no discovery about their claim, that [Levandowski] didn’t cooperate.”

“The fact that Mr. Levandowski didn’t cooperate is fairly evident, from the fact that he has taken the Fifth Amendment—and was fired,” spoke back Uber legal professional Karen Dunn. “I’m surprised at this point this is even controversial, since it’s so evident he did not [cooperate], and that’s one of the reasons he was terminated.”

Then there is the query of “why isn’t Levandowski in the case?”

Waymo does not need Uber to indicate Levandowski will have to were a defendant in the case. That wasn’t an choice, mentioned Waymo’s legal professional, partially as a result of Waymo sought after to stay its case in federal court docket. “There’s nothing improper about that,” he mentioned.

“This is a lawsuit motivated in substantial part by the decision to compete with Uber, and to not partner with Uber,” mentioned an legal professional for Uber. “This is an important part of the presentation of the case.”

Alsup mentioned he had hassle seeing Waymo’s level on this one. “In every patent case, the defendant always argues—this isn’t about patents, it’s not about IP, this is just one competitor trying to put another out of business,” Alsup mentioned. Turning to Waymo’s legal professional arguing the movement, he mentioned: “Have you ever made that argument? I bet you have.”

Defendants claiming a lawsuit is anti-competitive is only a “general theme,” mentioned Alsup, and he was once not likely to preclude Uber from making the declare.

Can Uber carry up the “bonus theory?”

That’s Uber’s advice that the reason why Anthony Levandowski downloaded 14,000 paperwork is as one of those insurance plans to verify Google paid him the bonus he was once due.

Uber “invented” the bonus idea when the corporate “decided to throw Levandowski under the bus,” mentioned Waymo legal professional Verhoeven. “There’s zero evidence that would even get close to supporting this silly notion that he would download all these documents to blackmail Google, or show Google that he should get paid both. ‘I stole your trade secrets, so pay me more money?’ It doesn’t make sense.”

Furthermore, Google paid him. Levandowski it sounds as if e-mailed an acquaintance about it, writing “booooom,” with five Os, in line with Verhoeven.

Uber legal professional Karen Dunn identified that Levandowski did categorical actual considerations about getting paid. But in the long run, Uber does not know why he carried out the alleged downloads, Dunn mentioned.

“What you have here, this alternative theory, is exceedingly weak,” Alsup concluded. “You don’t have a single piece of evidence that he did it for that reason. You have timing, and then you want to draw a fantastic inference from that.”

How, and when, can the legal professionals cope with Levandowski most likely appearing up and taking the Fifth? 

Waymo needs to say it in its opening commentary.

“He’s a very big witness in this case, and we’re concerned that the jury’s going to be like—what’s going on?” Verhoeven mentioned.

“It’s a very big decision to make, to decide if he’s going to come to court to invoke [his Fifth Amendment rights],” Dunn mentioned. “As you say, he probably will, but that will depend on Your Honor’s decision.” If Waymo have been to mention that Levandowski will plead the Fifth of their opening commentary, “that’s extremely prejudicial,” mentioned Dunn.

“It’s 99 percent going to happen,” Alsup mentioned.

Alsup ended the listening to with some issues about his scheduling and court docket procedures. The case will proceed for approximately two weeks, and feature 10 jurors, the facets agreed. He may not rule on Waymo’s request to lengthen the trial date till no less than the center of subsequent week, when there’s a listening to on the topic.

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