Uber and Waymo reach settlement

Avatar By Virginia Watson | 2 years ago

A settlement has been reached in the trade secrets lawsuit, Waymo vs. Uber. The lawsuit is being dismissed with prejudice. Much to everyone’s surprise, the trial ended sooner than expected. As one of the most high profile trials in Silicon Valley, that was expected to last for three weeks, the settlement was reached on the morning of day five.

According to Bloomberg, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, claimed that in 2015, one of their senior engineers, Anthony Levandowski, constructed a plan with Uber for him to steal more than 14,000 proprietary files, including the designs for lidar technology that helps driverless cars see their surroundings. Right after Levandowski left Google, he founded Otto, a self-driving truck startup, which was acquired by Uber. Waymo’s lawyers argued that Uber wound up with those allegedly stolen files and merely masqueraded the process as an acquisition.

Waymo will receive a financial settlement that includes 0.34% of Uber’s equity based on a $72 billion valuation, putting the reward at $245 million. Uber also agreed not to incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into hardware and software used in its self-driving cars. Waymo had been seeking $1.8 billion in damages.

According to a statement issued by Waymo “we have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo’s intellectual property now and into the future. “We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology. This includes an agreement to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software. We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs and on the roads and we look forward to bringing fully self-driving cars to the world.”

New Uber CEO, issued a statement regarding the case and the future of Uber, stating that the company will focus on the future and move past its mistakes. “While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward. I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology. As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future. We believe that race should be fair – and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities and our environment.”