"Instead, Otto and Uber have taken Waymo's intellectual property so that they could avoid incurring the risk, time, and expense of independently developing their own technology", Waymo said in the complaint.
Waymo, set up by Google owner Alphabet, is taking legal action against Otto, Uber's self-driving vehicle unit that it bought past year for $700m.
A statement released on Friday by an Uber spokeswoman said that the company is proud of all the progress their team has made.
Levandowski left Waymo in January past year and founded Otto in May.
Levandowski is now heading Uber's self-driving efforts at their Advanced Technology Center in Pittsburgh. Apparently, Uber was unaware that a lawsuit was being filed, asking for a few days to respond when the trial struck, to "review the matter carefully".
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Waymo's lawsuit also will escalate the tensions between Google and Uber, two one-time allies that are morphing into rivals. Without the alleged skullduggery, Waymo alleges that Levandowski and the other former Google employees wouldn't have been able to build the Otto technology that generated the windfall from the Uber sale.
Waymo was inadvertently copied on an email from one of its vendors, which had an attachment showing an Uber lidar circuit board that had a "striking resemblance" to Waymo's design, according to the complaint.
Before Levandowski left Waymo, he allegedly downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential design files that were later used to develop Uber's own LiDAR system. Google's venture capital arm, Google Ventures, has poured in over $200 million into Uber over the years.
Waymo is seeking a court order prohibiting Uber from relying on its technology in its self-driving vehicles as well as damages that could be tripled on some of the infringement claims if it prevails in court.
"Then he connected an external drive to the laptop".