Mar 31, 2017

Waymo-Uber judge displeased with confidentiality requests

As part of an on-going IP theft lawsuit from Alphabet's self-driving car unit against Uber, the parties had a private hearing before Judge William Alsup in United States District Court in San Francisco this week. Newly hired lawyers for Anthony Levandowski, the former Alphabet employee at the center of the lawsuit, told the judge that he would be exercising his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

Here are the main points the parties discussed with the court, according to a transcript obtained by Axios:

  • The judge warned lawyers for Uber and Levandowski that if they don't deny the allegations of stolen IP, there's a good chance he'll rule in favor of Alphabet's request for an injunction to halt Uber's self-driving car efforts.
  • Judge Alsup dismissed the idea that a list of vendors qualifies as a trade secret.
  • The judge warned the lawyers that he's not a fan of their attempts to redact significant portions of court filings and requests for private hearings.
  • Levandowski's attorneys want to prevent the naming of a third party that did due diligence on his company ahead of its sale to Uber, arguing it would infringe on his Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Alsup theorized that the third party likely has incriminating information that would prove Alphabet's claims, though Levandowski's attorney doesn't believe it's the case.
  • Uber's attorneys said they requested a private hearing to avoid headlines in the press about Levandowski's Fifth Amendment, something they're concerned would reflect badly on Uber even though it comes from Levandowski alone.
  • Judge Alsup wasn't happy that he learned of a prior attempt at arbitration through the news and not the lawyers. Uber's lawyers explained they were asked to keep all information about Levandowski's employment contract (and related arbitration) confidential by Alphabet's employment attorneys.
  • While Uber's attorneys warned that they ultimately can't force Levandowski to testify in the case, the judge countered that the company can order him to or else threaten to fire him if he doesn't.
  • The judge advised Alphabet's attorneys to request to have their experts inspect Uber's self-driving technology to see if it's similar to its own.
  • Levandowski's attorneys clarified that his decision to exercise his Fifth Amendment right may change as the case moves forward.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Health

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.