Uber owes Waymo $244 million after trade-secret settlement

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Uber and Waymo announced a settlement Friday, just days after court proceedings had begun in a case regarding Uber's alleged theft of trade secrets from the Google-affiliated, self-driving vehicle development company, according to NBC News.

Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Waymo early this week proposed a settlement deal with Uber Technologies Inc in which Uber would pay $500 million (362.14 million pounds) in equity to resolve a high-stakes trade-secrets case, but Uber directors rejected the offer in a board meeting on Tuesday, according to two sources close to the discussions. Mr. Levandowski started a self-driving trucking start-up, Otto, with the help of other Google engineers he took with him, while downloading proprietary information from the company.

On top of that, for all the dirt on Uber that Waymo produced during the short trial, it had yet to produce the smoking gun that proved Uber possessed the technology in question or had ever used it.

Levandowski unexpectedly left Waymo in his position as head engineer for LIDAR technology - a critical component for self-driving cars - and set up his own company that Uber bought just a few months later for $680m.

Mounting legal fees have become a problem for Uber, which reported $1.5bn in losses during the third quarter a year ago, largely because of litigation costs.

Waymo filed its lawsuit after it mistakenly received an email meant for Uber executives that included images of a LiDAR-related computer chip that Waymo said was identical to its own design. The value of the shares ranges from $US153 million to $US245 million, depending on how you value Uber, a privately held company.

The executive added the company's acquisition of Otto "could and should have been handled differently" as the prospect that former employees "may have potentially left with Google files in their possession, in retrospect, raised some hard questions".

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As a result of the accusations, Levandowski was forced to step down from his position and was later fired by Uber.

Uber countered that Waymo had sued to put it out of business, as the two vied to be the first to launch self-driving cars for the ride-hail market.

"While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward", part of his statement read today. Khosrowshahi, eager to push forward with his vision for the company, still has to contend with ongoing federal criminal investigations over Uber's use of technology to evade law enforcement and other probes into a major security breach in 2016.

As with most settlements, the truce required some compromise by both sides.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to knock down the roadblocks to the ride-sharing company's progress as the company settled a long-running dispute with rival Waymo over trade secrets. The judge in the case didn't allow that figure into the trial.

Waymo said in a statement Friday that the settlement would protect its intellectual property "now and into the future". It has since acquired the permit but it still does not have self-driving cars transporting passengers in its home city.

"Had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed", Kalanick said.

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