The theft of trade secrets is a very serious allegation and one that any company should take seriously, regardless of what side of the allegation they are on. Trade secret theft does have a prevalence in certain industries over others, though. Recently it seems like the tech industry has been rife with these types of allegations, and today is no different.
A lawsuit filed by Waymo — a self-driving company under the Alphabet parent company which Google belongs to — alleges that Uber stole technology relating to their laser system that allows their self-driving cars to successfully navigate roads safely. Uber allegedly obtained this information after a former employee of Waymo left and went to Uber. The employee had some 9.7 gigabytes of data that contained information on “LiDAR,” the successful laser system Waymo is predicated upon.
These are very serious allegations by Waymo, and if true, they constitute some particularly heinous behavior on the part of Uber and the employee. It will be interesting to see where the lawsuit goes from here, but it is likely this will be settled out of court in some fashion.
Many trade secret or intellectual property litigation cases are settled out of court. Settlements are a critical legal tool nowadays. They reduce the amount of time that a company needs to deal with litigation, while simultaneously limiting a company’s exposure in court. This doesn’t mean that trade secret litigation isn’t important — it is just a reality that many companies need to accept if they are considering trade secret or intellectual property litigation.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Uber using stolen Google technology for self-driving cars, lawsuit alleges,”