Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A judge has asked the US Attorney’s Office to investigate Waymo’s allegations against Uber and placed a temporary injunction on part of Uber’s program.

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Sherif Marakby is the latest exec to leave Uber’s self-driving program

April 18, 2017

Limited part of Uber’s program now on hold

The ongoing legal battle between Uber and Waymo is intensifying as a district judge in in San Francisco – Judge William Alsup – has asked federal prosecutors to look into Waymo’s allegations against the ride-sharing company. As Judge Alsup explains, “The Court takes no position on whether a prosecution is or is not warranted, a decision entirely up to the United States Attorney.”

However, in the meantime, he has blocked a part of Uber’s self-driving program; because the motion issuing the injunction is sealed, we do not have details on to what extent the decision will limit Uber’s self-driving ambitions. Judge Alsup has also decided that Waymo’s lawsuit will go to trial instead of private arbitration, so in many ways, experts see it as a win for Google’s self-driving unit.

While Uber declined to comment on the partial injunction, The Wall Street Journal quotes an Uber spokeswoman who stated, “It is unfortunate that Waymo will be permitted to avoid abiding by the arbitration promise it requires its employees to make. We remain confident in our case and welcome the chance to talk about our independently developed technology in any forum.”

Waymo, on the other hand, seems satisfied with the court’s decision to reject arbitration: “This was a desperate bid by Uber to avoid the court’s jurisdiction. We welcome the court’s decision today, and we look forward to holding Uber responsible in court for its misconduct.”

Anthony Levandowski at the center

Waymo, a self-driving technology company spun off from Google, filed a lawsuit against Uber back in February. The company claims that Anthony Levandowski stole tens of thousands of confidential documents regarding Google’s self-driving technology when he was an employee there and then joined Uber to head its self-driving program.

We’ve already seen Waymo’s accounts and other Google employees’ testimony, claiming that Levandowski could have been working on his own company while at Google. Uber has since asked Levandowski to step aside from some of his duties, but it looks like the legal battle between the two companies won’t be the last one as self-driving technology becomes more and more lucrative.

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