Waymo is the self-driving arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Reaching the promised land of a society where self-driving cars is the norm is every self-driving companies dream, and so it is important for all companies related to the self-driving vehicle industry to closely guard their business interests and protect their trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property. Waymo is doing just that after their former head of the division left the company for Uber with what they say is critical information about their self-driving technology.
That former head of the division, Anthony Levandowski, joined Uber after the transportation company purchased Levandowski’s startup company, Otto. When he joined Uber, Levandowski apparently accessed and downloaded tens of thousands of files from Waymo’s systems that pertained to the company’s technology. Two other employees that also left Waymo for Uber are alleged to have done similar things.
Waymo has sued Uber for the trade secret violation with an intellectual property lawsuit, but they have also hit Levandowski with an injunction over his alleged involvement in the case. It is yet another bad headline that Uber has to deal with in an increasing surge of this type of news for the company.
Intellectual property is vital in today’s business landscape, and given the volatile and competitive nature of the business world, every company needs to go out of its way to protect itself and its IP. Consult with an attorney if you feel your company is at risk.
Source: Recode, “Alphabet’s Waymo filed an injunction against Uber for allegedly stealing intellectual property,” Johana Bhuiyan, March 10, 2017