Lyft Objects to Uber Dragging It Into Waymo Secrets Lawsuit

Updated on
  • Subpoenas to Lyft came days after Waymo partnership announced
  • Ride-hailing rivals are in the race over autonomous driving

Lyft Inc. complained to a judge that Uber Technologies Inc. moved to drag it into the larger ride-hailing company’s trade-secrets fight with Waymo two days after Lyft and the Alphabet Inc. unit announced an autonomous driving partnership.

Lyft said Uber has demanded confidential information about “expansive and irrelevant topics” including an analysis of Lyft as a potential acquisition target by Waymo, according to a filing Friday in San Francisco federal court.

Uber is using the trade secrets lawsuit brought by Waymo over self-driving technology “as an improper vehicle to extract competitive intelligence from its rival Lyft in the ride-sharing business,” according to the filing.

Uber spokesman Matt Kallman didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the filing.

Waymo is suing Uber, claiming that in 2015, its former driverless car engineer Anthony Levandowski and Uber hatched a plan for him to steal more than 14,000 proprietary files, including the designs for lidar technology that helps driverless cars see their surroundings. Uber denies the claims.

Lawyers for Uber and Lyft have discussed subpoenas issued by Uber on at least three separate occasions since last month, according to the filing. Lyft says Uber wants to see communications with Waymo to learn if the Alphabet unit has disclosed the trade secrets at issue in the lawsuit, and if Waymo provided an estimated value of the secrets.

Lyft said in the filing that its lawyers objected to Uber seeking competitive information from a company not involved in the lawsuit, and "in litigation where Uber has been accused of wrongdoing."

The case is Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., 17-cv-00939, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

(Updates with Lyft’s allegations in second paragraph.)
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