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Businesses The Almighty Buck The Courts

Waymo Wants Uber to Pay $2.6 Billion Over Alleged Trade Secret Theft (reuters.com) 25

Alphabet's Waymo unit is seeking about $2.6 billion from Uber for the alleged theft of one of several trade secrets in a lawsuit over self-driving cars, a lawyer for Uber said on Wednesday. From a report: Uber attorney Bill Carmody disclosed the figure in a hearing in federal court in San Francisco, where both companies are discussing whether a trial in the case will begin next month. Waymo has asserted claims that Uber stole several of its trade secrets. The total amount of Waymo's damages request was not publicly disclosed at the hearing on Wednesday. Waymo claimed in a lawsuit earlier this year that former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired soon after.
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Waymo Wants Uber to Pay $2.6 Billion Over Alleged Trade Secret Theft

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  • If the documents were actually stolen and the damages can be proven, it's a reasonable amount. We are talking about an entirely new field of commerce, which has yet to produce a single product. At this stage, a theft of self-driving research material could easily be valued in the billions.
    • Neither party is involved in the engineering of self-driving cars, so I'm highly skeptical of that assessment. Might as well be written on the back of a napkin.
    • We are talking about an entirely new field of commerce, which has yet to produce a single product. At this stage, a theft of self-driving research material could easily be valued in the billions.

      Or a more cynical person could easily valuate the whole story to exactly ZERO dollars.

      (You know, with the entire new field still needing yet to show capability to produce at least one single functional product, one could easily classify the whole thing as "science fiction / fantasy")

  • Uber's had $11billion worth of funding so far [crunchbase.com], and they're leaking money like a leaky lawyer, but they should be able to survive with that money lost (of course they are absolutely losing this lawsuit).

    Still, waste a billion here and a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. Waymo than I have.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @03:11PM (#55233321)

    The amount of time and talent required to develop that technology before all of it's competitors is worth far more than $2.6B if Uber can release a product or service within the same year as Waymo. Frankly, this technology is worth hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. All of Uber's financing and assets should have been excoriated from them in their entirety. I hope I'm not underselling just how large an impact this technology is going to have. ;)

    • By the time you factor in Uber's debt load, in technical terms, Uber has no assets; the bank has their assets. How this balloon hasn't completely deflated yet is beyond me.

      • Expect the balloon to rupture at 3,000 feet, killing everyone on board.

      • Because $6.5 billion in annual revenue is impressive enough to keep investors engaged.
        • Also, do they even get funding from banks, or is it all from venture capitalists and individuals?

          • Huh. I would have guessed it was entirely VCs, but apparently they've been getting funding lately from banks [crunchbase.com], including Morgan Stanley and Softbank. My guess is they were able to get better terms from the banks? An alternate explanation is that they were planning on going public soon, I guess.
            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              With all their scandals, with them hemorrhaging (that's surprisingly more difficult to spell than it should be) cash, and with their impending lawsuits and maybe even criminal charges - who the fuck is gonna buy into their IPO? Maybe the banks are smarter than I am, I'll grant that easily. But, I just can't see myself loaning them money.

              Their revenue is pretty impressive, but they've never turned a profit. Compounded with the additional risk factors (like those lawsuits and maybe even criminal liability), I

              • Their revenue is pretty impressive, but they've never turned a profit.

                Yeah, to really invest money in them, I'd have to look through their books, and figure out what things can be cut. The real question is, "If they decided to cut advertising/promotion/expansion costs, could they turn a profit today?" Amazon rarely turns a profit, but whenever investors get too jittery, like magic, the next quarter Amazon turns a profit.

    • Because no one will want to drive themselves once this tech matures? People always get what they want and technology merely supplements, not replaces people.
  • At $185K per file, I'm reminded of the Music and Film Industry Associations of America... ;)
  • This is America and suing folks for ludicrous amounts of money is -- along with professional football -- our national sport. So, sure -- $2.6B.

    I do wonder where they expect Uber -- which looks to be headed for Chapter 11(?) bankruptcy at flank speed -- would come up with $2.60. Much less $2.6B. But maybe that's the point. Raise Uber to the ground and sow the soil with salt. That'll teach the bastards not to mess with Waymo's IP.

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