Uber Pays Waymo $245 Million to Reach Settlement On Trade Secrets

Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan US

Uber and Waymo Settle for 245 Million Dollars

Uber Technologies has agreed to pay Waymo approximately $245 million in closely held stock, to put an end to a high-stakes conflict between the two firms.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, Waymo states that Uber has also agreed to not use any of its hardware or software trade secrets going forward - suggesting that Uber might have done so in the past and Waymo's suspicions were correct.

In its lawsuit, Waymo claimed that one of the leaders of its self-driving auto development program, Anthony Levandowski, took 14,000 confidential files relating to the venture's laser-scanning technology with him when he left to help create a self-driving truck company called Otto.

After spending almost a week in the courtroom, Waymo and Uber came to an agreement on Friday, Feb. 9, in which the latter will pay the Google/Alphabet division a significant sum of money (in our view - perhaps not in Google's). Uber said it had developed its technology on its own.

For Waymo, the settlement protects the technology that has vaulted it into the early lead in the self-driving vehicle market and provides a measure of personal vindication for Google co-founder Larry Page, who is now CEO of Alphabet Inc., the parent of both Waymo and Google. During two days of testimony, Kalanick explained how his relationship with Larry Page, Alphabet's chief executive, had deteriorated amid growing paranoia at the two companies about their competing autonomous-vehicle projects.

While the technical details of Waymo's case were not revealed, it was widely believed to focus on Lidar, a laser-based system which is critical to enabling autonomous cars to get a three-dimensional picture of its surroundings.

Reaching a settlement with Waymo clears away a significant legal risk for Uber as it prepares for an expected initial public offering.

He also says Uber is making sure its self-driving vehicle research represents only Uber's work, though he expressed "regret" for his company's actions.

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"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 wrote.

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. "Our sole objective was to hire the most talented scientists and engineers to help lead the company and our cities to a driverless future".

"To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people's lives for the better", Khosrowshahi's statement continued. "We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs and on the roads, and we look forward to bringing fully self-driving cars to the world".

Kalanick remained adamant in a statement Friday that facts of the case were on Uber's side.

The terms of the compromise, which comes less than a week after the start of the trial, which saw Travis Kalanick, the founder and former boss of Uber, testify at the bar, were not disclosed.

"No trade secrets ever came to Uber", Kalanick in the statement.

Information for this article was contributed by Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg News.

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