2017 and Early 2018 Supreme Court and Precedential Patent Cases From the Federal Circuit

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC

Arbitration -

Waymo v. Uber Technologies, 870 F.3d 1342 (Fed. Cir. 2017) -

Waymo sued Uber and others for trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement. Uber contends that Waymo should be compelled to arbitrate the matter because of an arbitration agreement between Waymo and its former employee/inventor/intervenor Levandowski. The panel affirms the district court ruling that compulsory arbitration is not appropriate based in part on the representation by Waymo that it is not relying on its employment agreements with Levandowski to prove its claims.

The employment agreement with Levandowski provided that all employment-related disputes and disputes relating to the employment agreement are subject to binding arbitration. In the district court, defendants argued that equitable estoppel should compel arbitration here because Waymo contended that Levandowski was able to misappropriate Waymo’s information by virtue of his job at Waymo, and that Levandowski downloaded 14,000 Waymo documents relating to self-driving cars, and used this information for the benefit of Uber. In response to this allegation, Waymo assured the court that it would not rely on the employment agreements and would forgo any claims against Levandowski similar to those asserted here, provided that Uber does not open the door by referencing those agreements.

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