13 September, 2017
The ride-hailing company responded that Waymo's claims should be arbitrated because Levandowski had an arbitration clause in his employment agreement with Waymo.
Uber argued that the case should be resolved in arbitration because a key player - former head of Uber's self-driving auto program Anthony Levandowski - had signed an arbitration agreement when he worked at Waymo.
The document at the heart of the fight is a due diligence report that Uber commissioned when it acqui-hired former Googler Anthony Levandowski and the entire self-driving truck startup he founded after suddenly resigning from Google. Waymo has repeatedly asked to see this due diligence report, which includes an interview with Levandowski.
The document was so carefully protected that it wasn't even shared with Uber's board members during the acquisition of Otto, Levandowski's startup.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the closely watched case should continue in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. If the due diligence report does indeed mention the theft of the 14,000 documents in question, that would mean Uber had a duty to return them, Waymo has argued.
Attorneys for Levandowski had argued against a request by Waymo that the findings, referred to as "the Stroz Report", be handed over as part of the evidence discovery process in the case.
The Federal Circuit denied that argument in Wednesday's ruling, affirming a lower court decision.
It's not clear when Waymo will finally receive a copy of the report, or if it will become public.
I've reached out to Uber and Waymo and will update this story when I hear back. The court's ruling is available here. Waymo claims Uber used the information Levandowski pilfered, allowing Uber to take a shortcut in developing its own technology.