June 23, 2018

Waymo and Uber Settle Trade Secret Case

Less than a week into their blockbuster trade secret showdown, Waymo and Uber have settled their dispute over driverless car technology.

The parties announced that they had reached an agreement Friday morning on what was set to be the fifth day of trial in U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s courtroom.

According to a statement from Waymo, the settlement includes a payment from Uber which includes 0.34 percent of Uber equity—or about $244.8 million in stock based on a $72 billion valuation of Uber.

The underlying dispute centered on Uber’s acquisition of Ottomotto, an autonomous car company founded by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski. At trial, Waymo’s lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan presented evidence that Levandowski had downloaded a trove of 14,000-plus files from Google before he left to form the start-up and that he had copied the files to his personal laptop and mobile storage devices.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi issued a prepared statement Friday morning acknowledging that the acquisition of Otto “made good business sense” at the time.

The statement continued: “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.”

“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,” Khosrowshahi said.

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