Waymo, Uber settle driverless-car suit

Uber, Waymo settle trade secrets clash

Uber and Waymo Settle for 245 Million Dollars

"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", Mr. Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

After four days of arguments and testimony in U.S. District Court, Uber agreed to provide Waymo, the self-driving auto unit spun out of Google's parent company, Alphabet, with 0.34 percent of its stock.

The deal was announced in a San Francisco federal court before testimony began, shocking many in the audience and leading to a rapid succession of prepared statements from each side. The settlement also includes an agreement "to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software", a Waymo representative said.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi [pictured above] said in a printed statement that the company doesn't believe trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber.

"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", he said.

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.

Levandowski may have been called to the stand Friday, where he was expected to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, a possibility that may have significantly blemished Uber's case, some observers noted.

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.

Levandowski apologized to Uber employees for any distraction arising from the clash with Google.

But 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.

The settlement, which was revealed by Federal District Judge William Alsup on February 9 after a week of proceedings, requires Uber to pay Waymo an amount of $245 million in cash, which is equivalent to a 0.34 percent equity stake in the $72 billion valuation of the ride-hailing company. It was an early investor in Uber and, although it sold some of its stock late a year ago, it still holds a significant stake in Uber.

The final value of the settlement could swing up or down, depending on how much Uber is worth when it goes public.

In pretrial evidence gathering, a Waymo expert witness valued the alleged theft at almost $2 billion.

While it's certainly not unheard of to settle a case midway through trial, it's not the typical scenario.

Khosrowshahi said in his statement he regretted the handling of the Levandowski matter, which occurred before he took over as CEO a year ago. Uber said it had developed its technology on its own. "The evidence at trial overwhelmingly proved that, and had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed".

"This has the look of two companies trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat", said Dan Handman, a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in trade secrets for the firm Hirschfeld Kraemer.

Waymo said in a statement that the agreement will protect its intellectual property.

In addition to the monetary amount, Uber promised that it will not use Waymo's technology in the development of its own self-driving vehicles.

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