WHEN WAYMO, THE autonomous car company once known as Google’s self-driving car outfit, announced it was suing Uber for trade-secret theft in February, the action seemed to center on a single person: Anthony Levandowski.
According to Waymo, the former Google engineer downloaded 14,000 secret documents from its system and used the contents to launch his own self-driving truck startup, Otto, in January 2016. By August, Uber had acquired Otto for a reported $680 million, and Waymo says the ride-hailing giant was in on the theft from the start.
Juicy, yeah? Well forget Levandowski and say hello to the litigation’s newest and most unlikely star: former Uber intelligence employee Richard Jacobs.
Last weekend, the US Attorney’s Office pulled the very unusual move of forwarding a piece of evidence to Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the lawsuit in California.