Uber has made an admission that one of the documents that is alleged to have been stolen from Waymo was found on the personal computer of a former Waymo employees who now works at Uber. During a court hearing, Arturo Gonzalez, the Uber attorney revealed that the said document was found on Sameer Kshirsagar’s personal device.
This is the first time that Uber has admitted that any of the documents alleged to have been stolen from Waymo was in the possession of one of its employees. The ride-hailing company, however, placed great emphasis on maintaining that the said document was not on any of Uber’s computer but rather the employee’s personal device.
“…thus far we have only found one document from his computers that matches the documents identified in the complaint,” said Uber’s attorney.
Gang of three
In the case against Uber, Waymo alleges that Kshirsagar stole a couple of confidential documents last year in June. This was a month prior to his resignation and after which he joined another former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, at the ride-hailing firm. Besides Levandowski, the other former Waymo employee who is alleged to have stolen documents from their employer containing trade secrets is Radu Raduta.
But while Raduta and Kshirsagar only allegedly stole a few documents, Levandowski is alleged to have stolen 14,000 of them. Waymo is now demanding that as part of the discovery process Uber be compelled to turn over the stolen documents. Uber, on the other hand, argues that it cannot do so since it would be violating Levandowski’s Fifth Amendment rights. The ride hailing firm, however, says it has conducted a thorough search at its offices for the documents.
Uber has also disclosed that it has conducted interviews with former and current employees numbering 85, some of whom were assigned to the automotive unit. Computers belonging to 10 of these employees were searched. The git repository of the company was also searched but the process the online taxi firm conducted yielded 31,000 hits which were not substantive.
Charles Verhoeven, Waymo’s attorney, made the observation that Uber was refusing to comply citing Levandowski’s Fifth Amendment rights and yet even though the allegations against him were serious, he still remained an employee of Uber heading the autonomous car project.
Despite Uber’s arguments that it couldn’t find the documents the presiding judge ordered a more thorough search with explicit instructions to use 15 search terms provided by Google’s self-driving unit.