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US: Uber agrees to a US$245m settlement with Waymo

 |  February 11, 2018

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 US$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, February 9, in San Francisco.

Uber has also agreed not to incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into its hardware and software, though Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi writes in a statement that he doesn’t believe his company used any of Waymo’s trade secrets in the first place.

A source familiar with the matter tells CNBC that Uber approached Waymo with a settlement offer within a week before the trial started.

The case started in February 2017 when Waymo accused Uber of using at least eight Waymo trade secrets in its self-driving cars. Waymo said that when Uber acquired the start-up Otto, founded by star Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, in late 2016, Levandowski brought some 14,000 Google files with him, some of which contained Waymo trade secrets. Uber rebutted that its self-driving sensor designs were unique and that Levandowski’s actions were unrelated to his work at Uber.