Uber to Pay Waymo $245 million to Settle Dispute


Alphabet subsidiary Waymo settled with Uber in the midst of a trade secret infringement trial. This lawsuit originated when Waymo brought suit against Uber in 2017, alleging that former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski, who was hired by Uber to lead Uber’s self-driving car project, took with him thousands of confidential documents.

Uber will reportedly pay $245 million in shares to Waymo in order to settle the case, a settlement that took place just prior to the start of the fifth day of testimony.

“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,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Despite whatever the relative merits of the case may have been, it is not everyday that one sees a settlement in the middle of a trial, particularly a high profile trial such as the battle between Waymo and Uber.

”While it’s certainly not unheard of to settle a case midway through trial, it’s not the typical scenario,” said J. Michael Keyes, a partner at the international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. “Usually, by the time both sides get to trial, all of the relevant stakeholders are aware of the risks and believe that their respective ‘world views’ will prevail before the jury. It’s hard to know what altered that calculus, and we may never know,” Keyes said.

“Uber’s CEO acknowledged that they should have handled their acquisition of OttoMotto—the company founded by the former Google driverless technology engineer— ‘differently.’ That’s probably the understatement of 2018,” Keyes explained. “I think what Uber is saying is that it should have done much more vetting of OttoMotto and its IP to ensure compliance with the law of trade secrets,” Keyes adds.

“Tech heavyweights and non-heavyweights alike need to be vigilant about making sure that employees that are hired and companies that are acquired are not tainted with potential claims of misappropriation,” Keyes explained. “Extreme vetting of employees to make sure they did not take files and other information from the prior employer is a must. Careful due diligence during the acquisition process of a company is also paramount. The IP of that company needs to be traced back to its origins to ensure it is free of claims by third parties.”

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

You share in the PLI Practice Center community, so we just ask that you keep things civil. Leave out the personal attacks. Do not use profanity, ethnic or racial slurs, or take shots at anyone's sexual orientation or religion. If you can't be nice, we reserve the right to remove your material and ban users who violate our Terms of Service.

You must be logged in to post a comment.