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Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

Patent/Trade Secret Action Not Sufficiently Related to Allegedly-Breached Employment Agreement to Compel Arbitration

Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17665 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 13, 2017) (NEWMAN, Wallach, Stoll) (N.D. Cal.: Alsup) (2 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms denial of motion to compel arbitration. Applying California law and de novo review, and noting that there was no arbitration agreement between Waymo and Uber, the district court did not err in concluding that equitable considerations did not warrant compelling arbitration of Waymo’s patent/trade secret suit. Applying Kramer, 705 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2013), and Goldman, 92 Cal. Rptr. 2d (Cal. Ct. App. 2009), the opinion reasons that Waymo’s complaint did not rely on the employment agreements that an ex-Waymo employee signed before allegedly sharing confidential material with Uber. It also rejects Uber’s argument that Waymo was essentially urging collusion between Uber and the ex-employee concerning breach of the employment agreements.

KEYWORDS: ARBITRATION