Residents of California who follow the news coming out of Silicon Valley may have heard that Uber has been spending the past year tied up in litigation over its driverless car technology; the company suing Uber, Waymo, has been claiming that Uber stole its proprietary technology. Recently, the case was settled, and Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in equity, giving the plaintiff, along with its parent company, a 0.34 percent equity stake in Uber.
It is worth pointing out that this case was taking place in a year filled with scandals for Uber, all of which culminated in one of Uber’s founders stepping down from the position of CEO. However, the case between Uber and Waymo has been particularly devastating, especially since it had strong ramifications for the future of the ride-sharing company.
In the case, Waymo asserted that Uber had colluded with one of its top engineers in order to steal thousands of patented files, among which were the designs for lidar technology, the eyes of driverless cars. As a result, Waymo decided to sue Uber, claim $1.86 billion in damages, and demand the court to issue an order to stop Uber from using the proprietary technology. In the end, both companies agreed to a settlement, and Uber’s new CEO issued a statement in an attempt to appease Waymo and its parent company, Alphabet.
Intellectual property rights should not be taken lightly as the potential damages occurring can cost a company billions. When an individual or entity feels that their ideas, patented technology or brand has been stolen, they may wish to reach out to experienced legal professionals for assistance in protecting their rights.