Jan 30, 2018

Waymo will have to stick to Uber's self-driving car projections

Anthony Levandowski speaks during the launch of the pilot model of the Uber self-driving car on September 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh. Photo: ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge has decided that Waymo will only be able to use Uber's internal projections of its self-driving car business, not its own, in the upcoming trial over alleged theft of trade secrets.

Why it matters: Financial damages have been a contentious topic in this year-long case as there's no real self-driving car market yet, so it's hard to put a number on it. The restriction should keep Waymo from influencing jurors into ascribing unreasonably large damages, according to the judge.

What to watch:

  • Waymo, which has accused Uber of stealing and using its self-driving car tech trade secrets, could see two outcomes in its favor: financial damages, and a permanent injunction barring Uber from using its tech.
  • The judge will also allow jurors to be told that Waymo is separately suing, via private arbitration, Anthony Levandowski, its former self-driving car exec whose company Uber acquired. The rationale: It will keep jurors from unjustly wanting to punish Uber for Levandowski's actions.

What's next: Jury selection will start on Wednesday, and the trial will begin on Monday, Feb. 5.

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