January 10, 2020 / 1:38 AM / in a month

Waymo secures bigger award against workers who went to rival Uber

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Waymo said on Thursday that arbitrators had finalized a judgment of $128 million, plus undisclosed legal costs and interest, against two former employees who went to rival Uber Technologies Inc.

FILE PHOTO: A Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicle is parked and displayed during a demonstration in Chandler, Arizona, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara

The decision is the latest defeat for Uber in a multi-pronged legal battle with Waymo over the development of self-driving vehicle technology. Last year, Uber said it could have to pay the entire judgment as part of indemnification pacts with the two workers.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google, which spun off Waymo in 2016, alleged that year that engineer Anthony Levandowski and business leader Lior Ron breached various contracts as they brought Waymo employees and technology to Uber.

Waymo won an interim judgment last March, with Levandowski liable for $127 million, while he and Ron were together on the hook for a further $1 million, according to previous disclosures.

The company last month was then awarded the legal fees, attorneys’ fees and prejudgment interest, but the amounts were redacted in state court papers filed on Thursday in San Francisco.

Waymo said it was seeking court approval to publish the figures.

Ron remains at Uber. The company fired Levandowski in 2017 and said last year it would pursue reimbursement from him. Attorneys for Levandowski did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Waymo settled a related lawsuit against Uber by securing a 0.34% stake in the company and an agreement that Uber would stop freely using Waymo technology.

Levandowski is separately fighting a federal indictment on charges of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car efforts.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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