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

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

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

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled last week that Mr. Levandowski's use of the Fifth Amendment doesn't bar Uber from firing him, and that the company shouldn't "pull any punches" in compelling him to surface more information around the allegedly stolen files.

Uber has been ordered by a court to return stolen files to Google's self-driving auto company Waymo after an ex-employee stole the information before getting hired on by Uber.

Uber wants Waymo's lawsuit over self-driving vehicle tech settled in private arbitration.

Levandowski left Waymo in January 2016 and started Otto, a self-driving truck startup that Uber bought for $680 million in August. The ride-hailing app is able to continue working on its self-driving auto project, however, and the court found that very little of Waymo's intellectual property had found its way into Uber's prototypes.

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

"Uber's appeal is a blatant attempt to hide their misconduct from the public", the Waymo spokesman said in a statement. Uber did not immediately respond for comment.

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