Uber and Alphabet’s Waymo settled a lawsuit on Friday nearly after a year when Waymo first accused Uber of stealing important trade secrets for self-driving vehicles.
After four days of testimony in Federal District Court of San Francisco, the settlement was finally announced, abruptly halting the controversial case.
Alphabet’s self-driving unit, Waymo, filed a lawsuit last year, accusing its former engineer, Anthony Levandowski of stealing some 14,000 confidential documents from Alphabet and trading them to Uber. Levandowski later became the head of Uber’s self-driving car project.
The lawsuit resulted in a significant delay for Uber to launch its own fleet of self-driving vehicles. After Waymo sued Uber, the ride-hailing company fired Levandowski.
According to a Waymo representative, as part of the settlement, Uber will provide Waymo with 0.34 percent of its stake, worth $245 million based on Uber’s current valuation of $72 billion.
The settlement also includes an agreement signed by Uber that prohibits it from incorporating any of Waymo’s stolen technology into its future projects.
Earlier this week, Waymo agreed on a settlement proposal valued at $500 million which had support from Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. However, the proposal was later rejected by Uber’s board of directors.
This settlement, once and for all frees Uber from all the issues associated with former CEO Travis Kalanick and his tumultuous period as CEO of the company. Kalanick also testified in court following the lawsuit.
Kalanick’s successor Khosrowshahi now wants to change the perception that Uber stole any confidential documents from Waymo.
“While we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
Lidar is a light-based sensor that plays a key role in autonomous driving.
Alphabet already holds a stake in Uber from an initial investment of $258 million made in 2013 and this settlement resulted in an increased stake.
The lawsuit with Waymo was just one of the many bruising controversies Uber had been surrounded with, since last year.
In June 2017, Uber fired 20 of its employees after an internal investigation was carried out on sexual harassment and toxic workplace accusations. And amid all the scandals and controversies, the company was shaken again by Kalanick’s resign and a bitter board dispute.
So finally the famous lawsuit that riveted the Silicon Valley for almost a year came to a smooth close, ending Waymo’s fear of getting its technology being used by rival and letting Uber move past one of its most taxing controversies.