Larry Page, the chief executive of Alphabet and co-founder of Google, has to answer questions by ridesharing app company Uber in its lawsuit over self-driving car trade secrets.
According to a news report in Bloomberg covering court proceedings, lawyers for Uber want to interview Page as part of the case in which Google parent company Alphabet contends Uber stole technology that was key to Alphabet’s self-driving car project under its Waymo unit.
Waymo argued that to depose Larry Page wasn’t necessary and was intrusive, but a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco ruled the CEO could be questioned for a maximum of four hours regarding the lawsuit.
“Larry Page has first-hand, non-repetitive knowledge of relevant facts,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley wrote, according to the Bloomberg report.
Bloomberg reported that under questioning, carsharing company Uber intends to ask Page about a meeting he had with Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of the legal fight. At the meeting, the two reportedly talked about Levandowski’s desire to develop self-driving trucks either at Alphabet or via the formation of his own company.
The engineer left Waymo and created Otto, the self-driving truck company that was bought by Uber for $680 million in stock, noted Bloomberg. Waymo contends Uber stole trade secrets when Levandowski downloaded 14,000 files to his personal computer before joining Uber. Levandowski was fired at the end of May. The engineer isn’t testifying in the case, which is hurting Uber’s defense in the lawsuit.
Late last week, Waymo dropped three of the four claims against Uber, noted Bloomberg. Lawyers for Uber also want to ask Page about his side venture that competes with Google.
“Indeed, Mr. Page himself engages in a competing business,” Uber wrote. Bloomberg speculated that comment in the legal brief likely referred to flying car companies Page is backing.