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Uber and Waymo Settle Technology Lawsuit With a $245M Agreement

By NexChange
Capital Markets, FinTech

Uber Technologies has agreed to a surprise settlement over a lawsuit filed against it by Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, which accused Uber of stealing its self-driving trade secrets.

The settlement, which came on the fourth day of the trial between the two companies, includes an agreement by Uber not use Waymo’s technology in its self-driving cars. Uber will also give Waymo 0.34% of its equity at a $72 billion valuation, equal to about $245 million, as the Wall Street Journal reports.

Uber had originally sought $1 billion from Uber and a source tells the Verge that the settlement will be all in equity instead of cash, which “means Waymo is invested in Uber’s future.”

Here’s more context from the Verge:

Still, Uber sees this as a big win, especially since it clears the deck for the company ahead of its expected public offering. A settlement avoids years of costly appeals for Uber, or if the case had swung in the ride-hail company’s favor, a retrial by Waymo. Most notably, the settlement reflects the difference between Uber’s old and new leadership. While Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick probably likely would have continued fighting, no matter the cost, Khosrowshahi saw the value in putting the case behind him. Khosrowshahi has said he wants to take Uber public in 2019.

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber, released a statement about the settlement in which he said his role as 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,” and that he wanted to “express regret for the actions” of the company. Khosrowshahi was named CEO of Uber last August after co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to resign while Uber dealt with sexual harassment accusations and complaints of a hostile work environment.

Khosrowshahi continued:

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.

While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward. I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology.

A former Uber employee accused the ride-sharing company last month of setting up a special division that “was responsible for acts of corporate espionage, the theft of trade secrets, the bribery of foreign officials and various means of unlawful surveillance,” as TechCrunch reported.

Photo: Getty iStock

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