Uber Settles Trade Secrets Lawsuit With Alphabet's Waymo Unit

One of Volvo's higher-profile new partnerships is with Uber in the realm of self-driving cars. Courtesy of Volvo Cars

The trade secrets trial that pitted Waymo, the Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, against Uber is over.

The two companies reached an agreement early Friday morning as the fifth day of the trial in the US District Court in San Francisco was about to get underway.

The alleged theft of trade secrets by a former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski—and the alleged use of those secrets by Uber—was at the center of Waymo’s lawsuit. The trial began Feb. 5 after a year of legal wrangling, twists, and turns. And the trial had its own dramatic moments too, including when former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took the stand.

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The terms of the settlement:

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was hired after Kalanick was forced to resign, said in a blog post the company still doesn’t believe that trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber.

“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,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “To be clear, 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.”

A Waymo spokesman said the company is committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology.

“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,” a spokesman said in a statement.


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