12 February 2018
California
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Uber Waymo litigation ends with settlement


Uber and Waymo have reached a settlement in their trade secret dispute after nearly a year of litigation.

Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, sued Uber for the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property in February 2017, accusing the ride hailing service of taking and using “key parts of Waymo’s self-driving technology”.

According to Waymo, Otto founder Anthony Levandowski, who previously worked at Waymo and later worked at Uber, had stolen more than 14,000 highly confidential design files for various hardware systems, including LiDAR sensor technology, from Waymo.

In acquiring Otto, Uber had allegedly acquired this stolen technology.

Under the settlement, Waymo will receive $245 million payment from Uber.

Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said that he wanted to acknowledge and correct “mistakes of the past”.

“To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better.”

He added: “Of course, we are also competitors. And while we won’t agree on everything going forward, we agree that Uber’s acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently.”

Khosrowshahi continued: “There is no question that self-driving technology is crucial to the future of transportation—a future in which Uber intends to play an important role. Through that lens, the acquisition of Otto made good business sense.”

“But the prospect that a couple of Waymo employees may have inappropriately solicited others to join Otto, and that they may have potentially left with Google files in their possession, in retrospect, raised some hard questions,” he said.

“To be clear, while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our LiDAR and software represents just our good work.”

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