Uber threatens to fire self-driving car engineer in trade secrets case


And it looks like Uber is now threatening the engineer with termination unless he turns over the stolen documents.

Apparently, Uber General Counsel Salle Yoo has told Levandowski, a former Waymo executive, that he must comply with the order to return Waymo documents or face possible contract termination, Levandowski's lawyers said in a court filing.

Uber, meanwhile, has not denied that Levandowski took Waymo documents, but the company insists that it hasn't used any Waymo technology in its cars.

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A USA judge granted a partial injunction against Uber Technologies Inc in a high-profile trade secrets case with Alphabet's Waymo self-driving auto unit, ordering Uber to promptly return any Waymo files downloaded by a former Waymo engineer.

Uber was issued with an injunction last week by USA district judge William Alsup in San Francisco, ordering it to keep Levandowski away from work involving Lidar, which is used for range detection and environment scanning among other things. "Anything short of firing Mr. Levandowski to get him to waive his Fifth Amendment rights and attorney-client privileges would put Uber at risk of contempt, since it would fail to measure up to the Court's command that Uber exercise every lawful power it has over Mr. Levandowski".

The ride-hailing startup filed notice Thursday informing the Northern California federal court it has asked the Federal Court of Appeals to review a ruling last week denying Uber's motion to compel private arbitration in the lawsuit.

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An Uber spokesperson did not immediately comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Earlier, Uber said it would appeal a judge's order rejecting its attempt to arbitrate Waymo's trade secret claims, according to a court filing.

For Uber, the bad news is far from over. The company could keep a top engineer and argue it struggled to comply with the judge's demands for more information without Mr. Levandowski's assistance. That employee, Anthony Levandowski, is now required to be kept away from any of Uber's self-driving auto work involving a Lidar system. A trial is set for October in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

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