The lawsuit that Waymo/Google/Alphabet filed against Uber last year — alleging the theft of trade secrets relating to the company’s LiDAR tech for use in self-driving vehicles — has now ended, following a settlement.
Uber execs have reportedly agreed to pay Waymo $245 million (via shares of its stock) in order to bring the lawsuit to a close — with the announcement coming just before the fifth day of testimony was set to begin on Friday in San Francisco.
Presumably, Uber execs had simply had enough and didn’t want its business being openly discussed in a courtroom any longer — all of the negative PR surrounding such a situation can wear on the company in multiple ways. Presumably, it then decided to end things despite the high cost of doing so.
Despite the result, ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been quoted as saying: “Had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed.”
The spin never ends in Silicon Valley.
Reuters provides more: “The settlement allows Uber’s chief executive officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, to put another scandal behind the company and move ahead with development of self-driving technology, following the tumultuous leadership by former CEO Travis Kalanick, who testified at the trial on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“As part of the deal, Waymo gets a 0.34% stake in Uber, worth about $245 million based on Uber’s current $72 billion valuation, a Waymo representative said. The settlement includes an agreement to ensure that Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated into Uber technology, which Waymo has said was its main goal in bringing the lawsuit.”
Notably, the $245 million settlement is far lower than the one that Waymo was seeking last year — a cool $1 billion. But it’s certainly not chump change either, representing the second largest trade secret settlement to date in the US.
Also notable is that Waymo had agreed to a settlement of around $500 million earlier this week, but Uber’s board of directors rejected that.
And a final note: the US Department of Justice is reportedly still conducting its own criminal investigation into related matters.
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