Unexpected settlement of the conflict between Uber and Waymo in a case of theft of technological secrets related to autonomous vehicles . On the fifth day of the trial, sending them back to court in San Francisco, the two parties found a financial agreement to end their dispute.
On February 23, 2017, Waymo (the new name of the Google self-driving project) filed a lawsuit against Uber for “theft of trade secrets and patent infringement.”
While Anthony Levandowski left Google to found the start-up Otto (later bought by Uber), Waymo accused his former employee of taking with him secrets on the development of autonomous vehicles.
The suspect in the first place to have downloaded 14,000 records from its offices, including very sensitive data related to Lidar technology.
While many observers expected to see Uber in great trouble during the trial, it appeared during the first four days of hearing that Waymo was far from having hardened his case. Fragilating his position and decreasing his chances of success, for lack of sufficient evidence.
In order to get out of this business, Waymo’s lawyers will have chosen in the end to ensure the back of their client. On the fifth day of the trial, Justice Alsup announced at once that both parties had reached an agreement and that they were now halting their hostilities in court.
Meanwhile the judge had pointed out to Waymo’s lawyers that on the one hand he was not the inventor of LIDAR, and on the other hand the secrets he accused Uber of stealing from him. were not directly related.
The debates focused on the personality and actions of Anthony Levandowski . According to documents put forward during the trial, both Google and Uber were far from having full confidence in the engineer. While Waymo tried to emphasize that Levandowski was able to convey secrets to Uber, Uber did not stop downplaying the impact of such events.
Ironically, Uber’s lawyers and financiers will be well-managed … Waymo’s revenues will now be somewhat dependent on Uber’s good financial situation. … since the financial agreement provides for settlement in shares.
Under the deal, Uber will grant Waymo $ 244.8 million, equal to 0.34 percent of Uber’s value of $ 72 billion. In the end, the amount represents about 25% of what the complainant wanted to obtain.
“We are committed to working with Uber so that each company develops its own technology,” Waymo said in a statement.
“This includes an agreement to ensure that any confidential information of Waymo is not incorporated into the hardware and software of the” Advanced Technologies “group within Uber is also specified.
Uber side, we hope that the page can be quickly turned, including history not to taint the brand image of the company and can re-attack firmly. Its CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, addressed his employees apologizing for the lawsuit that diverted them from their mission.
“Even though we believe that Uber did not take any industrial secrets from Waymo,” “we are taking steps to ensure Waymo that our Lidar technology is only a reflection of our work,” said Dara. Khosrowshahi in a statement.