According to Reuters, Waymo also wanted an independent monitor be appointed to ensure Uber does not use Waymo technology in the future.
Uber rejected all these terms but no one has actually revealed what it offered instead, Waymo is rather confident in its legal position after months of pretrial victories which have placed Uber on the back foot.
Legal experts say that it is pretty clear that Waymo is not in a hurry to resolve the lawsuit. It is causing a major headache for Uber and there is a good chance it will win.
Waymo recently persuaded a San Francisco federal judge to delay a trial to decide the dispute from October to early December, citing the need to investigate evidence Uber had not disclosed earlier.
The judge overseeing the case mandated that the companies enter mediation with a court-appointed magistrate.
Amy Candido, a Waymo attorney, declined to comment on any settlement talks, but said the company’s reasons for suing Uber are “pretty clear”.
“Waymo had one goal: to stop Uber from using its trade secrets”, she said. “That remains its goal.”
Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, called Otto, which Uber acquired soon after.
Uber denied using any of Waymo’s trade secrets.
Waymo’s lawsuit has been disruptive for Uber. U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted Waymo’s request for a pretrial injunction in May, which prohibited Levandowski from working on Lidar, a key sensor technology for self-driving cars that is the crux of the current litigation.
Uber later fired Levandowski, regarded as a visionary in autonomous technology, after he refused to return Waymo documents at the heart of the case. Levandowski has asserted his constitutional right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions from Waymo lawyers.
Waymo has estimated damages in the case at about $1.9 billion, according to court filings, which Uber disputes. Despite that figure and the big settlement demands, Waymo views winning a permanent injunction against Uber using any Waymo intellectual property as the main priority, another source familiar with the company’s thinking said.
Much of the technical evidence in the case has been filed under seal, making it impossible for outside observers to independently assess the strength of each side’s arguments. In court last week, Alsup said Uber’s product was “dissimilar” from Waymo‘s.
Even if a jury finds that Uber stole Waymo trade secrets, Uber says in court filings that its engineers have designed around the Waymo technology at issue in the case. If that is true, that would lessen the impact on Uber in the event of a defeat in court.