Uber Pays Waymo $245 Million to Reach Settlement On Trade Secrets

Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan US

Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan US

In a statement released Friday, Waymo - which had accused Uber of stealing numerous trade secrets that were embedded in Waymo's self-driving vehicle technology - said it believes the binding agreement will protect its intellectual property in the future.

A second source says that before the current settlement was reached, there was another offer with a higher equity value given to Waymo (around $500 million) and that had fewer constraints on Uber about the use of Waymo technology, but that Uber's board rejected that offer at a meeting Tuesday night.

Uber has agreed to settle the lawsuit brought against it by Waymo for theft of some of the company's trade secrets. "We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology", a spokesperson said. The lawsuit threatened to detail Uber's self-driving efforts, as Waymo was seeking a judgement up to $1.8 billion. "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".

Kalanick forcefully denied those allegations during his court appearance Wednesday, arguing that his pursuit of top-tier engineering talent was a way of advancing driverless technology and ensuring Uber's survival. "Through that lens, the acquisition of Otto made good business sense".

One of Waymo's former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, reportedly, according to Waymo, stole at the end of 2015 thousands of confidential documents before founding his own startup, Otto, later bought by Uber in the summer of 2016.

Waymo claimed some $ 2 billion from Uber, which wants to establish itself as a leading player in the transformation of the auto industry.

Behind the scenes, company officials admit, negotiations were taking place.

Waymo filed a lawsuit almost a year ago accusing Uber of conspiring with Levandowski to create a fake company that would be purchased by Uber and used to steal eight trade secrets from Google's self-driving vehicle team.

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The settlement includes an agreement "to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber hardware and software".

The dispute started in 2016 after Uber acquired Otto, a self-driving truck startup founded by Anthony Levandowski, an early member of Google's self-driving auto project.

Khosrowshahi expressed "regret" over the company's actions. Uber fired its self-driving chief after Waymo sued, and it is well behind on its plans to deploy fleets of autonomous cars in one of the most lucrative races in Silicon Valley.

"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".

The jury saw evidence which was embarrassing for Uber, however, including notes from Kalanick about "cheat codes" and a text message in which he told Levandowski to "burn the village".

"My job as CEO of Uber is to set the blueprint for the company's future: innovate and grow responsibly, while recognizing and correcting the mistakes of the past", adds the new executive.

Kalanick said in a statement that no trade secrets came to Uber, and that "it is clear Uber would have prevailed", if the trial had continued.

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