Uber and Waymo reach settlement in blockbuster trade secrets trial

Waymo gets to the heart of its case

Waymo gets to the heart of its case

Friday morning in a courtroom in San Francisco, trial lawyers representing Google's Waymo self-driving vehicle technology division accepted a $245 million settlement offer from Uber.

Uber agreed to pay equity valued at about $245 million as part of the deal between the rival technology companies, a Waymo representative said.

In a statement, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said his job included "correcting mistakes of the past".

Waymo and Uber settled their legal fight on Friday, almost a year after Waymo first accused the ride-hailing company of plotting to steal important self-driving vehicle technology.

"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. Of course, we are also competitors.

In a statement, he said to Waymo: "While we won't agree on everything going forward, we agree that Uber's acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently".

Khosrowshahi also apologized to the Uber employees in the company's self-driving auto division for "distracting from your mission" with the lawsuit. Still, the terms of the settlement could affect whether Uber and Waymo can move forward with their expensive and laborious self-driving vehicle designs, potentially putting one company ahead of the competition. The jury will have to decide whether the documents downloaded by Levandowski were indeed trade secrets and not common knowledge, and whether Uber improperly acquired them, used them and benefited from them. He added that "we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our lidar and software represents just our good work". It is now owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet. It also shows that Uber CEO Khosrowshahi is serious about adopting a less-antagonistic attitude than his predecessor, Travis Kalanick in order to address the various scandals he inherited.

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