Uber’s Self-Driving Car Legal Fight With Waymo Headed to Court

USA Today
May 2017

USA Today interviewed Stradling shareholder Jason de Bretteville, a former assistant U.S. attorney and chair of the firm’s white-collar criminal defense practice, for a story about Waymo’s suit against Uber in which Waymo, Google’s autonomous car company, claims that its former self-driving car expert, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 files related to Google’s proprietary technology before starting a competing company, Otto, which Uber bought in 2016 for $670 million. In a setback for Uber, Judge William Alsup referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for an investigation of possible theft of trade secrets by an Uber executive. In commenting on the matter, de Bretteville explained that it is rare for a judge to refer a case for possible criminal charges, and that “Waymo’s fully capable of contacting the FBI or the Department of Justice itself.” De Bretteville further stated that “Neither side might want things to move to criminal court because if the case is taken by the criminal courts, control is ceded to the criminal process. For example, litigants might then say that they don’t want to be deposed in the civil trial because it could affect the criminal proceedings.” Read the article.