Klein & Wilson

Google partner company sues Uber for theft of technology

Uber has been having a rough few weeks. After the company reduced surge pricing at a New York airport when protesters of the recent travel ban flooded the gates, users of Uber deleted their accounts en masse. Then there have been the sexual harassment claims over the last week that have haunted the company, in some form or another, since its inception.

Now comes word that a company created by Google's parent company Alphabet is suing Uber for stealing their laser technology for self-driving cars. Waymo says their system called LiDAR, which shoots millions of lasers outward to create "a 3D picture of the world" so a self-driving car can navigate it, was stolen by a former employee and given to Uber. Waymo alleges 9.7 gigabytes of data were stolen from them.

Uber did not provide much of a comment in response to the lawsuit, other than to say they take the allegations seriously. That is an appropriate way to characterize these allegations: stealing trade secrets or intellectual property is a massive claim, and both sides of the dispute need to have legal help to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. Will it actually go to court, or will there be some sort of settlement? Usually settlements are made in these types of cases. Legal remedies allow the companies to find a resolution to the matter, whether that involves compensation or other provisions that appease both sides.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Uber using stolen Google technology for self-driving cars, lawsuit alleges," Michael Laris, Feb. 23, 2017

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