Uber settled its legal fight after being accused of plotting to steal self-driving technology, which is considered to be the way of the future. It took more than four days in court, which included arguments and testimony. An overall case worth stood at $245 million. The settlement was mainly concerning the trade secrets. The case was between Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and could be considered one of the most intense legal fights of Silicon Valley. This is especially since it concerns a startup vs. one of the biggest technology giants’ parent. The overall potential of the industry is trillion-dollars that are predicted to transform transportation.
The case showcased what many in Silicon Valley normally struggle with: the sudden rise of start-ups, the workings of the rich companies, the rivalries, and competition for talent.
In 2009, Waymo was founded by Google in to develop self-driving vehicles; it is now a subsidiary of Mountain View-based Alphabet, Google’s parent corporation. Uber also began developing a self-driving car in 2015. Waymo alleged that Uber gained stolen trade secrets through a former Google engineer, Levandowski, who left Google in January 2016. Levandowski founded a driverless truck company called Otto and then sold it to Uber for $680 million. He joined Uber in August 2016. Uber, in its defense, denied having trade secrets and said the secrets of laser technology were not secrets. Levandowski was believed to have downloaded many files from Google which concerned the to self-driving car technology before leaving. Uber had some knowledge about what he had done and went ahead with the deal is what Waymo claimed.
Part of the contributing factors that led to the settlement could be the testimony which yielded details connecting Uber and its substantiation of a relationship with Levandowski. The jury heard testimony supporting Waymo’s claim that 14,000 Google files were downloaded to an external device before leaving the company. There were also stolen trade secrets concerned technology for bouncing laser beams off surrounding objects to enable self-driving cars to gain a three-dimensional picture of their environment and the jury began hearing evidence about details of those trade secrets. The courtroom was closed to the public to protect confidential information.
Our Evanston non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high-level executives in a covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago Business. You can view that article by clicking here.
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Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Schaumburg non-compete agreement litigation attorneys have more than three decades of experience helping clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state non-compete and trade secret theft laws. Our Chicago business dispute attorneys also represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners, shareholders, and LLC members as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Barrington and Lake Forest, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.