Uber announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement with Waymo to settle the long-standing intellectual property dispute between the two companies. As part of the deal, Uber will transfer roughly $245 million in closely-held shares of its stock to Waymo.

The conclusion to this dispute comes just days after Uber’s founder and former CEO, Travis Kalanick, fielded questions from Waymo attorneys at trial. Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, accuses Uber of conspiring with former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski to steal trade secrets revolving around Waymo’s development of autonomous cars. After leaving Google, Levandowski created Otto, an autonomous trucking startup, which was later acquired by Uber. Levandowski was appointed head of Uber’s self-driving car division by Kalanick. Waymo commenced the suit over a year ago, claiming that Levandowski downloaded Waymo’s intellectual property while still employed there, and that he provided that information to Uber.

In questioning Kalanick, lawyers for Waymo brought up notes from meetings of Uber executives that potentially allude to Kalanick’s desire to speed up Uber’s development of self-driving vehicles by any means necessary. In the notes, Kalanick is quoted as saying that the objectives of the Otto deal were to gain “IP” and “a pound of flesh.” Kalanick then stated that he had offered $600 million in incentives to Levandowski and his team if they met certain technological goals in development.

Kalanick was forced out as head of Uber last year in the wake of public pressure following revelation of the company’s alleged hostile workplace culture, culminating in a viral video of Kalanick confronting an Uber driver. Kalanick was also alleged to have allowed sexual harassment at Uber.

While Uber’s legal dispute with Waymo has come to an end, the saga is not yet over. It is possible that federal authorities will be pursuing criminal charges in the matter, following a referral from a federal judge last year.



Comments are closed.