As part of the deal, Alphabet’s self driving unit Waymo gets a 0.34% stake in Uber, which is worth $245 million, based on Uber’s current $72 billion valuation.

Uber agrees to 245 mn out-of-court settlement in legal dispute with Alphabets Waymo
Atom Legal Dispute Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 09:51
Written by  S. Mahadevan

Uber took a decision to bring its legal dispute with Google parent Alphabet Inc’s Waymo to a close. Uber has agreed to an out-of-court settlement, by which Uber will allot $245 million worth its shares to Alphabet Inc’s project for self-driving vehicles.

Waymo had gone legal accusing Uber of having used its self-driving technology, which was taken by its former head of the project before he left Waymo and joined Uber’s self-driving car project.

For the record, these shares constitute just 0.34% of Uber’s capital, based on the company’s valuation of around $72 billion. Experts opine that this kind of a settlement is quite decent. Another significant facet of the settlement is that Uber has agreed “to ensure that Waymo’s confidential information is not being incorporated into Uber technology”.

There are different explanations being offered for this move by Uber to agree to this settlement even as the trial is already in progress. The main one relates to Uber’s keenness to move on with its ambitious project to put its self-driven cars on the road. Uber sees the project as not only a prestige issue but also from the likely profits it can generate going ahead for the company. It would not want this legal case to delay its work any further.

There are those who felt that Uber would have gone on to win the trial since Waymo probably did not have any solid evidence to prove that the 14,000 odd documents that Levandowski, who was with Waymo, had downloaded, were indeed used by Uber in its self-driving car technology. Uber had already sacked Levandowski as soon as the issue was raised by Waymo.

There were also a few back and forth in the case, with Waymo agreeing to a settlement of $500 million down from its initial demand for $1 billion. It also wanted an apology from Uber on the issue. The $500 million offer was taken to the board of Uber also, but rejected. And Uber didn’t agree to offer an apology either.

Eventually, the final settlement of a quarter of a million dollars and an expression of regret has settled the matter, making it a win-win situation for both sides.

Uber has also issued a clarification that its intentions in agreeing to the settlement stems from its desire to ensure that the Lidar sensor it has developed and the software to go with it to run the self-driving cars is seen as being genuine and original. Though the lawsuit has delayed some of the plans Uber had for its self-driven cars project rollout starting the end of 2018, it may still be able to speed up the activities.