Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo, wanted at least $1 billion and a public apology from Uber as part of a proposed settlement to end a high-stakes trade secrets lawsuit against the ride-hailing company, according to a report from Reuters. Uber rejected the stipulations as non-starters, the news agency said.
Exactly how much Waymo wanted to end the case couldn’t be learned, reported Reuters, citing unnamed sources familiar with the proposal. The high-dollar amount could be an indication of how confident Waymo is with its case against the ride-hailing company.
Here’s more from the story:
Waymo’s tough negotiating stance, which has not been previously reported, reflects the company’s confidence in its legal position after months of pretrial victories in a case which may help to determine who emerges in the forefront of the fast-growing field of self-driving cars.
The aggressive settlement demands also suggest that Waymo is not in a hurry to resolve the lawsuit, in part because of its value as a distraction for Uber leadership, said Elizabeth Rowe, a trade secret expert at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
The hotly-contested legal battled has been a focal point in the recent push by carmakers and tech companies to invest in autonomous technology. Waymo filed the suit in February, alleging that one of its former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, stole self-driving car files—including protected trade secrets—before abruptly leaving the company to join Uber. Levandowski could face a criminal investigation as part of the situation, but Uber says none of the stolen files ever made their way into the company’s own self-driving technology.
A trial was slated to begin this week, but a judge last week delayed the proceedings until December, after Waymo obtained a damning due diligence report commissioned by Uber to determine what, if any, files Levandowski stole from Google. Waymo asserts the report shows Uber unquestionably knew that Levandowski had taken a number of confidential files, and repeatedly accessed the information even after leaving his former employer. Uber believes the report vindicates its position that nothing stolen by Levandowski made its way into the ride-hailing company’s self-driving tech designs.
Spokespeople for Waymo and Uber didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. We’ll update the story if we hear back.
Update, 12:05 p.m.: An Uber spokesperson said the company had no comment on the Reuters report.