>> A dramatic turn in a high-stakes legal battle between two Silicon Valley giants. A US District Judge in San Francisco now calling for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department into allegations Uber stole trade secrets from Google's self-driving car unit. Reuters' San Francisco Bureau Chief, Peter Henderson.>> Well, this is bad for Uber, and we're not yet sure how bad.
If the Department of Justice decides to begin investigating, you've got an entirely new group of investigators, extremely competent people, looking into this matter. So who knows what they may find. And in addition, it's a criminal probe, so it's not clear whether people might be going to jail because of it.
>> The ongoing civil case hinges on over 14,000 confidential files that Google's self-driving car unit, formerly known as Waymo, alleges were stolen by former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, before he left the company. Levandowski, who was not a defendant in the civil case, later co-founded self-driving truck startup, OTTO that was acquired by Uber.
Google claims the stolen documents made their way to Uber, allowing it to fast track its own technology and avoid years of costly research. That action now seen as potentially criminal by the judge. In addition, the judge partially granting Google's request for an injunction against Uber's self-driving efforts. And rejecting Uber's argument that the civil case proceed in private arbitration, allowing it to be played out in public view.
Uber declined to comment on the judge's new request for a separate criminal investigation. The company saying in a statement, it remains confident in its case.