By Alexandria Sage
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit is seeking about $2.6 billion from Uber for the alleged theft of one of several trade secrets in a lawsuit over self-driving cars, a lawyer for Uber said on Wednesday.
Uber Technologies Inc attorney Bill Carmody disclosed the figure in a hearing in federal court in San Francisco, where both companies are discussing whether a trial in the case will begin next month.
Waymo has asserted claims that Uber stole several of its trade secrets. The total amount of Waymo’s damages request was not publicly disclosed at the hearing on Wednesday.
Waymo claimed in a lawsuit earlier this year that former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired soon after.
Uber has denied using any of Waymo’s trade secrets.
Waymo’s allegations have already led Uber to fire Levandowski, who had directed Uber’s efforts in the nascent yet pivotal field of self-driving cars. A loss by Uber at trial would add to the company’s lengthy list of legal headaches.
Jury selection in San Francisco federal court is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10. However, Waymo has asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to delay the trial, arguing that critical new evidence it recently obtained requires further time to investigate.
Uber said Waymo is trying to stall because it does not have any evidence that Uber obtained Waymo’s confidential information, according to court filings.
Alsup said he would not rule from the bench on Wednesday about when the trial would start.
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Writing by Dan Levine; Editing by Tom Brown)