Travis Kalanick lawyers up, bracing for Waymo v. Uber courtroom showdown

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick¬†hired some big legal guns in preparation for the rapidly approaching Waymo v. Uber trial — a highly anticipated event that’s shaping up to be Silicon Valley’s trial of the year.

Kalanick has retained Melinda Haag, the former top federal prosecutor in San Francisco, to represent him as the case moves forward, said Howard Mintz, a spokesman for Haag’s current firm, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Partner Walter Brown also will represent Kalanick, who reportedly is scheduled to be deposed Thursday.

Kalanick resigned from his position at Uber’s helm last month, but he remains a key figure in the trade secrets fight. The case, which is set to go to trial in October, centers on claims that former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files containing trade secrets related to rival Waymo’s self-driving car technology. He then left Waymo and founded his own self-driving trucking startup, which was later acquired by Uber — allowing him to bring the pilfered secrets to the ride-hailing company, Waymo’s lawyers claim. Uber fired Levandowski¬†in May after he refused to cooperate with the company’s investigation into the allegedly stolen documents.

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Kalanick isn’t the only high-profile Silicon Valley name involved in the litigation. Uber has been granted permission to question Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Google’s chief legal officer and former Uber board member David Drummond.

But as is not unusual with this court case, even getting some of those depositions has turned into a fight. Alphabet allegedly has been dragging its feet in making Brin available for a deposition, and Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the case in federal court in San Francisco, on Wednesday reportedly warned that Brin “better show up” for the questioning.

Photo: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick talks to the media at the 2016 Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (Josie Lepe/ Bay Area News Group)


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