Uber Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit Over ‘Stolen Idea’

Uber Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit Over ‘Stolen Idea’

A Californian jury’s verdict last Friday means Uber could be facing a huge lawsuit fee on the back of claims Kevin Halpern, supposed inventor of the business idea behind Uber, has made against the firm.

Halpern accused Uber of stealing the ideas of his now-defunct company Celluride Wireless Inc., and misappropriating trade secrets. The San Francisco Superior Court jury has now found the claim to be valid, and timely (not beyond the time bounds to take legal action).

Halpern says he was developing Celluride as far back as 2002, implementing P2P services, rider to passenger, to be summoned via mobile devices on the spot; an idea that sounds a lot like Uber. He says he shared his business plans and ideas with Uber’s co-Founder Travis Kalanick in 2006, under the premise they would remain secret. Uber was then launched by Kalanick in 2010.

A second jury will now be tasked with determining whether Uber truly misappropriated Halpern’s trade secrets and whether the firm owes Halpern damages.

“We are very pleased that the jury saw through Uber’s misleading tactics and that Kevin Halpern will now be able to prove once and for all that Travis Kalanick and the other defendants started Uber with his trade secrets,” said Alan A. Greenberg of Greenberg Gross LLP, speaking with Law360.

On the back of last week’s verdict, an Uber spokesperson had this to say: “Today’s decision did not address the merits, and we look forward to defending ourselves to the fullest during the next phase of the case.”