Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Economy | By

Uber, Waymo settle court case for $245M in equity

Uber, Waymo settle court case for $245M in equity

The impending courtroom drama centering on lidar technology for autonomous vehicles ended suddenly on February 9, after Uber - accused by Google-affiliated Waymo of stealing trade secrets - agreed to pay a reported $245 million to settle the case out of court.

In a statement on Friday, Khosrowshahi expressed "regret" for Uber's actions.

Waymo alleged that Levandowski heisted its technology and took it to Uber via a startup he founded and which Uber purchased a few months later for $680 million.

The settlement announcement on Friday was made just before the fifth day of testimony was about to begin at a jury trial in San Francisco federal court.

The settlement announcement has brought an abrupt halt to the legal case between the two companies in San Francisco in which Waymo had alleged that one of its former engineers who became chief of Uber's self-driving auto project took with him thousands of confidential documents.

Commenting on the case, Dara Khosrowshahi, current CEO of Uber, said that the acquisition of Otto could've been handled differently.

Waymo averted the chance of an embarrassing loss in court, and got a commitment from Uber not to use any Waymo technology.

It has also agreed to give Waymo 0.34pc of Uber equity, which is worth around $245m.

The prospect that Waymo employees "may have potentially left with Google files in their possession" had "raised some hard questions", he added. The resulting compromise cut Uber's payment in half, but provided Waymo with the guarantees that it wanted to prevent its technology from being used in Uber's autonomous cars.

"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", it said in part.

A divided board empowered Khosrowshahi and Uber general counsel Tony West to reach a settlement as long as it involved a lower figure and an assertion that Uber had not stolen anything, the source said. "But Waymo had the burden of proof to show that its trade secrets were actually taken and incorporated into Uber products".

"I remain proud of the critically important contributions Uber ATG has made to the company's future", Kalanick said.

For Waymo, the settlement protects the technology that has vaulted it into the early lead in the self-driving vehicle market and provides a measure of personal vindication for Google co-founder Larry Page, who is now CEO of Alphabet Inc., the parent of both Waymo and Google.

"We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology", a Waymo spokesperson said.

Uber has also issued a clarification that its intentions in agreeing to the settlement stems from its desire to ensure that the Lidar sensor it has developed and the software to go with it to run the self-driving cars is seen as being genuine and original.

"We still don't know where you draw the line between what an engineer can take from job to job in his mind without violating trade-secret laws", said Waack, who started her career as an engineer. The settlement also covers more than 100 other trade secrets that Waymo alleges Levandowski stole.

Dara Khosrowshahi. Uber's new CEO got to put yet another scandal behind him and clear the road for Uber to go full throttle into its robot auto development - and a hoped-for 2019 IPO. He's declined to speak, asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

In settlement talks previous year, Waymo had sought at least $1 billion from Uber, and wanted an independent monitor to ensure that Uber would not use Waymo technology in the future, Reuters reported.

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