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What to Watch in the Waymo v. Uber Trial

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Preparing for trial in the biggest self-driving car case ever, attorney Melissa Bailey is focused on damages.

In Waymo v. Uber, she asked the trial judge to allow the plaintiff to present financial projections about the size of the self-driving market. The judge denied the pre-trial request, saying he didn't want to tempt the jury with "big numbers."

But the stakes are no secret. Last year, Intel projected the self-driving car market could be a $7 trillion industry in the near future.

$7 Trillion Market

Damages, as Judge William Alsop suggested, certainly will be a tempting part of the trial. Since he denied the plaintiff's request, Uber can relax for now.

However, the judge also said the plaintiffs can use Uber's projections. The question is, what will be the question that rings the bell?

According to reports, Waymo wants at least $1 billion from Uber. Reuters said the plaintiff also demanded a public apology and an independent monitor to ensure Uber does not use Waymo technology in the future.

Uber rejected the demand, and settlement does not look likely with trial set to start Feb. 5.

Jury Preparations

In the final pre-trial, the judge directed the attorneys to prepare handouts for the jurors. He said they will need help keeping track of names, positions and other information about witnesses.

The final witness list, which is due the day before trial, may include some Uber attorneys. Morrison & Foerster lawyers represented the company in acquiring the technology at the heart of the case.

Waymo alleges Anthony Levandowski, a former Waymo engineer, stole its self-driving technology and sold it to Uber for $680 million. In earlier proceedings, the judge said there was "strong evidence" of theft and referred the matter to federal authorities.

That investigation, like the trial, is pending.

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