Alphabet Inc’s Waymo pursued $1 billion in damages and a public apology from Uber Technologies Inc as requirements for settling the high-profile lawsuit against Uber. The Waymo self-driving car unit also requested a neutral party to be assigned to guarantee Uber does not use Waymo technology in the future. Uber has rejected those terms according to sources.
The insistent settlement demands can suggest that Waymo may not be in a rush to resolve the lawsuit partly due to its use as a distraction for Uber. Waymo persuaded a San Francisco federal judge to postpone a trial to decide the dispute from October to early December. There are no other settlement discussions scheduled at this time. The judge supervising the case commanded the companies to enter mediation with a court-appointed magistrate.
Amy Candido, an attorney for Waymo, said the company’s reasoning for suing Uber are “pretty clear.” The company has one goal, “to stop Uber from using its trade secrets,” she said. “That remains its goal.”
A spokesperson for Uber declined to comment.
The lawsuit began in February when Waymo accused former engineer Anthony Levandowski of downloading confidential files prior to leaving to create Otto, a self-driving truck company which Uber obtained. Uber has since let go of Levandowski, seen as a prophet in autonomous technology, after refusing to give back documents belonging to Waymo. Uber denied using any of Waymo’s trade secrets.
Benchmark named Waymo’s allegations of trade secret theft in separate litigation aimed at pushing Kalanick off Uber’s board. A day before Kalanick was scheduled to give a deposition in the case, Kalanick’s lawyers asked to postpone the deposition due to the fight of appointing new board members. Waymo refused the request, forcing Kalanick to attend. Instigating distractions for Uber is clear to benefit Waymo.
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According to court filings, Waymo estimating the damages at about $1.9 billion. Waymo’s main goal of the lawsuit is winning a permanent sanction against Uber from using any Waymo intellectual property.
If the jury determines that Uber stole Waymo trade secrets, Uber has said in court filings that their engineers constructed around Waymo’s technology. If true, it could lessen the blow for Uber should they face a loss in court.