Ride-sharing startup Uber Technologies Inc. plans to invoke a “broad arbitration provision” from its employee Anthony Levandowski’s previous employment agreement with Google to request arbitration in its case with Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (GOOG
) that has accused Levandowski of stealing trade secrets.
A lawyer for the Uber told Reuters that individuals mentioned in Waymo’s complaint are not referred to as “defendants” because of an employment agreement “that has a very broad arbitration provision.” The lawyer for the San Francisco-based company stated, “We intend to file permission to file arbitration within two weeks.” If permission is granted, arbitration will transfer the case to private courts, and the case will be decided by an arbitrator chosen by both parties (as opposed to a jury). This will expedite the decision process. (See also: Senior Executive in Uber’s Self-Driving Unit Quits.)
A Case of Alleged Theft
In February, Waymo filed a federal lawsuit against Uber’s self-driving car unit. In its complaint, Waymo alleged that Levandowski, who was part of Google’s self-driving unit earlier, downloaded more than 14,000 documents relating to self-driving technology with “special software.” Specifically, Levandowski obtained vital information relating to manufacture of custom Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) sensors, which help automobiles detect objects in the surrounding area. Other documents allegedly stolen include supplier lists, manufacturing details and “highly technical information.” Subsequently, he formatted the laptop and didn’t bring it to work again. (See also: Google’s Self-Driving Car Division Sues Uber.)
The 37-year-old engineer came to Uber via Otto, a self-driving truck company that he founded in May 2016 and that was acquired by Uber in June of the same year for $680 million. Uber has said that the…