After a week of trial in the Northern District of California, Uber abruptly settled with Waymo for $245 million, clearing the way for continued development of autonomous vehicles. In an article published by the San Francisco Chronicle, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Janelle Waack discussed the settlement and takeaways for technology companies. While settlement brings resolution to the parties, the absence of a verdict leaves uncertainty for those dealing with trade secrets. In particular, companies may need to rethink how to handle trade secrets and their risks in the context of acquisition due diligence and hiring technical talent. Janelle pointed out that with this settlement, “We still don’t know where you draw the line between what an engineer can take from job to job in his mind without violating trade-secret laws. It could be riskier to move from company to company because of the prospect of trade-secret issues like this.”
The full article, “Uber to Pay Waymo $245 Million to Settle Blockbuster Self-driving Secrets Case,” was published February 9, 2018, in the San Francisco Chronicle and is available online.