Big Lawsuit

Google VS Uber= there's a lot riding on this case. Google lawsuit could be a fatal setback for Uber's self-driving dreams | Uber | The Guardian

Thanks for posting this fascinating case.

Uber is a truly remarkable company with an estimated valuation equivalent to twice that of Sprint.

The changes it has brought about in the private transportation market around the world are really unbelievable especially since the taxi industry has been so well protected by politicians in most countries.

At the same time, there is clearly a dark side to the way this innovation has taken place. Apart altogether from the numerous lawsuits against it for different reasons, there are rumors of it finding ways to induce interested parties to help push its agenda.

In addition to the case of the self-driving car running a red light in San Francisco, there is the recent hiring of Eric Holder to investigate claims of sexism.

The case filed by Waymo seems to be very serious. In looking at the Complaint, the evidence, on the surface at least, seems quite strong. Waymo was apparently copied, perhaps inadvertently on an email from one of its LiDAR vendors. Assuming the evidence is authentic, it would seem to put the defendants, Uber and Ottomoto in a tough spot.

Looking out to the next decade self-driving cars would seem to be the truly "next big thing" and the amounts of money to be made are probably hard to imagine. In the circumstances, it would not be too surprising if some people tried to get in on the action in one way or another.

Agreed--given the magnitude of what's at stake, this will most likely be a big blow to Uber. Until now, they haven't wrestled with someone as powerful and as deep pocketed as Google. And it will be interesting to see if the head engineer who downloaded the patented info, actually thought he had successfully covered his tracks or whether he thought, legally speaking, he needed to. There have been several not too distant cases where highly valued employees have left their companies for another position and have taken trade secrets, customers, and other employees with them, and have been accused of doing so illegally. But from what I can remember, there has not been a case this large. Might make a good movie. I predict that Monday will bring more info to the forefront. In the end, Uber might follow the path of the passenger pigeon.

In reading the Complaint one is only hearing Plaintiff's side of the story.

However, at face value, the arguments seem very compelling.

What struck me most was the fact the company was bought out after only 6 months for half a billion dollars. Even today that is not exactly small potatoes. It is very hard to imagine any legitimate business reaching that valuation in 6 months.

Yes. And the fact that Uber has stated that it existence, or survival, depended on them being first to arrive at the self-driving car party. If the Plaintiff's side of the story holds true, I find it amazing that this sophisticated engineer was able to convince, or be convinced by, Uber that he could get away with such a grand scheme, particularly since he was familiar with Google practices. How many people to date have been done in by email evidence? This will probably be one of the more entertaining trials in recent memory.

Having the ability to operate self driving cars without needing to pay huge royalties would be an absolute bonanza for Uber.

Of course, one has to wonder if any executive would actually believe it would be possible to get away with a stunt of the type that is being alleged.

Perhaps there is a good explanation Uber can offer. If not, I do not envy the job their defense attorneys have in front of them.

Of course, one has to wonder if any executive would actually believe it would be possible to get away with a stunt of the type that is being alleged.

Volkswagen comes to mind, though not exactly the same. Patent law has a lot of gray areas. We shall see.

Re VW, one of their top engineers / fall guys, refused to put in a cheat and eventually got an authorization signed by the entire Board.

That's playing out in court right now.

Reagan sold arms to Iran.

One should assume that the people running companies, know precisely what is going on. If they don't, why are they getting the big bucks? Either they're guilty of illegal activities or of incompetence.

One of the common metaphors where I worked was the boss was like the captain of a ship.

Some of the ones I had to deal with over the years did seem to fit the type.

Here is a photo of one of the nicer ones. A charming type who was intensely focused on the mission.

Intensely focused, indeed. All too often such intensity does not end well for all involved. But it may provide the makings for a good story.

Oh--and here is a link to a long, but very informative profile that "New Yorker" magazine did a few years ago on the Google/Uber engineering genius who is now under the gun. Google’s Driverless Car | The New Yorker