Waymo vs. Uber: Judge Grants Uber Four Hours to Depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page


This Friday came with an array of developments in the Waymo vs. Uber case. First off, Alphabet inc. was forced to simmer down its patent infringement claims and turn the heat towards the trade secret theft aspect of the case. For the upcoming October trial, a magistrate judge has allowed Uber to depose Larry Page.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley agreed with Uber and ruled (PDF) that “Larry Page has first-hand non-repetitive knowledge of relevant facts.” Scott also granted deposition of Alphabet's CEO Larry Page who was being held as the witness by Waymo to contradict Uber's ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.

Nothing Phone 1 to Be Sold via Invites

Uber accuses Waymo of sabotaging its self-driving efforts with the lawsuit. The ride-sharing service alleges that Waymo had slammed the lawsuit to hinder Uber's self-driving project. Uber wants to interrogate Larry Page on why Alphabet dropped out of the partnership with Waymo and carried out its own self-driving project. In a related development, the judge turned down Uber's appeal to subpoena documents of Waymo and Lyft’s newly declared self-driving partnership.

Furthermore, Waymo on Friday submitted a list of a questionnaire consisting of 461 questions that it wants to ask Anthony Levandowski, an ex-Googler and head of Uber's self-driving project. The list of questions is expected to increase before the October trial begins.

Besides, the judge has granted four hours of deposition time to Uber where Larry Page will be under oath. With this decision, the judge has also opened an opportunity for Uber to depose David Drummond, Alphabet's chief legal officer and Uber's former board member. However, there are chances for Uber not deposing Drummond if Alphabet agrees on not using him as a witness in the case.

Case History: Waymo vs. Uber

Going back to the past events, Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber and Otto – a company acquired by Uber – in February 2017, on the indictment of thieving 14,000 files related to its self-driving technology. At that time, Uber condemned the accusations and claimed that it developed the self-driving technology on its own.

Later, in an unexpected turn of events, Uber admitted to having found one of the stolen files on the desktop of an employee named Sameer Kshirsagar, who was an ex-employee of Waymo. Uber also ousted Anthony Levandowski who was the co-founder of Otto as he exercised his Fifth Amendment rights and went silent on the entire issue.

The next trial is in October now, wherein new facts might get uncovered.

News Source: Ars Technica