Uber vs Waymo finally comes to an end

By : |February 12, 2018 0
Expedia

Uber and Waymo have finally reached a settlement in their long ugly trade secret battle. As part of the settlement, Google’s parent company Alphabet gets $245 million in Uber equity and Waymo gets to keep tabs on Uber’s self-driving car program.

“We have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo’s intellectual property now and into the future. We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology. This includes an agreement to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software. 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,” a Waymo spokesperson said.

The settlement also takes a big burden off Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s shoulders. “My job as Uber’s CEO is to set the course for the future of the company: innovating and growing responsibly, as well as acknowledging and correcting mistakes of the past,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement. He also apologized to Google employees, saying Uber’s acquisition of a self-driving car company, Otto, “could and should have been handled differently”.

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“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,” Khosrowshahi said.

The deal could also be a tacit admission of a trial that was heading in no clear direction. Waymo didn’t seem to have established the key element of the case: how trade secrets moved from Levandowski into Uber’s possession. But that doesn’t mean Uber could have come out clear. The ride-hailing company had been involved in too many nefarious activities that it’s difficult to give them any benefit of doubt.

Uber vs Waymo was the biggest highlight of 2017 with Waymo alleging that parts of Uber’s autonomous driving technology, specifically LiDAR, infringe on patents held by Waymo. According to Waymo, it developed a “combination of unique laser systems to provide critical information for the operation of fully self-driving vehicles,” which were taken by Otto founder Anthony Levandowski specifically, who was previously a manager working for Waymo.

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