In a twist in the tumultuous lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Uber revealed today that they found a document on an employee device, allegedly stolen from Waymo.
Tech Crunch reports that Uber, in this confession, remained adamant that the company has no possession of stolen documents, and that this particular document was found on the personal device of Uber employee Sameer Kshirsagar, not on Uber's computers.
Waymo has claimed former employee Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 confidential documents before leaving the company and joining Uber. Kshirsagar is one of two other former employees also accused of stealing information before leaving for Uber, but Waymo claims these two stole only a few documents.
Uber insists that these 14,000 documents are not and have never been introduced into or used by the company, or for any of Uber's driverless projects. Uber interviewed 85 employees about this case, of which 42 work in the automotive department. Uber claims to have searched ten employee computers, and while reportedly finding 31,000 'hits,' they found nothing matching what Waymo reported stolen, except of course for the document revealed today, on a personal device.
Uber attorneys have stated Levandowski will not take the stand in this case, invoking his 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination, at the displeasure of both Waymo and judge William Alsup.
Waymo attorney Charles K. Verhoeven was not pleased with Uber's behavior:
To the extent Uber tries to excuse its noncompliance on the grounds that Mr. Levandowski has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to provide Uber with documents or assistance, Waymo notes that Mr. Levandowski remains — to this day — an Uber executive and in charge of its self-driving car program. Uber has ratified Mr. Levandowski's behavior and is liable for it.
Judge Alsup ordered Uber to search again, and more thoroughly. According to Tech Crunch:
He told Uber to search using 15 terms provided by Waymo, first on the employees' computers that had already been searched, then on 10 employees' computers selected by Waymo, and then on all other servers and devices connected to employees who work on Uber's LiDAR system.
It appears now more than even, Uber is in a tight spot in this case.