Report: Waymo Willing To Settle With Uber For $1 Billion
Waymo was willing to settle with Uber and drop its lawsuit against the company in exchange for $1 billion and a public apology, among other conditions, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with previous negotiations between the two. Alphabet’s self-driving subsidiary also requested for Uber to accept having an independent supervisor oversee its future operations in order to make sure that the San Francisco, California-based company isn’t using any intellectual property previously stolen from Google’s unit that was spun off into Waymo by its engineer Anthony Levandowski, insiders said. While it’s currently unclear when exactly the proposal was given by the plaintiff, Uber supposedly rejected it from the very beginning, indicating that it’s so far apart from what it would be willing to accept that it wouldn’t even use it as a start of possible settlement negotiations.
Waymo originally sued Uber for approximately $2.6 billion but has dropped some intellectual property theft claims in the meantime, suggesting that its $1 billion settlement proposal was likely made shortly after the company officially filed for litigation. After narrowing down the scope of its lawsuit in a significant manner and drawing harsh criticism from a judge presiding over the case for doing so, the total amount of damages Waymo is seeking is likely significantly lower than the previously reported figure, with the case now being almost exclusively focused on a specific LiDAR design used in Uber’s self-driving vehicles that the plaintiff claims was stolen from it. The case itself is scheduled to move to trial on December 4th after its first court date was delayed, with the two having originally been set to meet in court yesterday. Sources claim that no additional settlement talks are presently being held and the current state of affairs suggests that the dispute won’t be solved outside of a courtroom.
Waymo sued Uber in February and requested a trial postponement in late summer after being presented with an extensive due diligence report on Levandowski’s startup Otto Uber commissioned in 2016, with the company claiming it needs more time to review the evidence Uber fought to not disclose. Some industry watchers believe that the plaintiff never had any intention to settle, both because it’s convinced it will win the case and is simultaneously seeking to drag out the proceedings as long as possible while keeping Uber‘s alleged transgressions in the spotlight and distracting its leadership from focusing on its autonomous vehicle efforts.