The court appearance was meant to be a plea by Uber to move its case with Waymo to private arbitration to avoid trial. It failed. After considering the evidence, Judge Alsup instead ruled that Waymo could proceed with its suit. An Uber representative told Business Insider:
It is unfortunate that Waymo will be permitted to avoid abiding by the arbitration promise it requires its employees to make. We remain confident in our case and welcome the chance to talk about our independently developed technology in any forum.
Further complicating matters for Uber, Judge Alsup then asked the US Attorney to examine Waymo’s evidence to determine whether Uber had committed any crimes. Waymo, Google’s self-driving car spin-off, claims that Uber stole trade secrets and intellectual property. The trade secrets in question relate to LIDAR and other radar-like sensors that helps an autonomous vehicle navigate. Uber denies any wrongdoing.
So far, the scene has been straight out of a Hollywood court drama. Allegations have been made that Uber hid evidence from the court, and one executive invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination.
If the US Attorney opens the case, it’d be the second such case against Uber this month.