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Take a ride! Alphabet sues Uber over self-driving technology

The Google owner has filed a suit against Uber and its Otto self-driving technology division

driverless car
Alphabet claims that one of its former employees downloaded more than 14,000 secret files before handing in his resignation

San Francisco looks set to be the battleground for a possible Clash of the Titans after Google owner Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) filed a lawsuit against Uber.

The court case relates to the two companies’ self-driving technology units; Waymo (Alphabet) and Otto (Uber).

According to a lawsuit filed in a San Francisco court on Thursday, Alphabet is alleging that the taxi-hailing giant has stolen patents and trade secrets, claiming that Uber’s designs for a driverless car share a “striking resemblance” with its own.

Weirdly, the allegations stem from an email sent from one of Uber’s component suppliers who “apparently inadvertently” copied in members of the Waymo team on an email.

The email reportedly contained various images and drawings of Uber’s Otto technology and its 3D sensors which contained Alphabet trade secrets, according to Alphabet.

The company is also claiming that one of Waymo’s former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, “downloaded more than 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary files shortly before his resignation”.

The lawsuit adds that Levandowski took “extraordinary efforts to raid Waymo’s design server and then conceal his activities”.

The story is made even more interesting by the fact that the engineer left Alphabet to launch his own self-driving truck company called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber.

In a statement, Alphabet said: “Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company.”

Quick facts: Alphabet Inc

Price: 1489.6 USD

Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $1.01 trillion

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