UPDATE: Uber have been in touch and a spokesperson for the company has provided the following statement on the matter "These claims are completely baseless. We will vigorously defend against them."
Uber is a massive service and highly popular for those cruising throughout the big cities. The service that allows anyone to hail a driver to their location at any given moment blown up over the past couple years but it looks like the company is in some new legal trouble. A brand new lawsuit was filed against Uber which is based around stolen trade secrets that were eventually used to create the service. This particular lawsuit comes from Kevin Halpern, an entrepreneur who feels that he holds enough evidence to support his claims against Uber and a list of its capital investors.
We're all pretty familiar with Uber by now, but for those who are not, the service allows consumers to download an application within their smartphone that ultimately gives the users the ability to request for a driver. Within the actual Uber application, consumers can pick out their desired driver and read reviews from others who have been taken to their designation by that particular driver. Essentially, it's just like taking a cab but with the ability to pick out your driver and vehicle.
The application service first released in 2009 and slowly gained popularity with drivers operating in more than 250 cities throughout 57 countries. While Uber gained its share of popularity, an application service many of us are unaware of is Celluride Wireless. Celluride was created by Kevin Halpern back in 2002 through 2008 and offers the same ideology. According to Kevin Halpern, he was in talks with Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, prior to the Uber service release.
During their talks and meetings, Halpern states that trade secrets were discussed about Celluride which was then stolen when Kalanick decided to create a similar application service. With the two unable to make an agreement on the matter, Halpern has decided to file a lawsuit for his suffered damages. As of right now, it's unclear just how much specifically Halpern is seeking but we do know that it's north of $1 billion. Some of the investors that are also involved in the lawsuit include Benchmark Capital, Founder Collective and First Round Capital.
Where Halpern may be in trouble is that he holds no patents or copyrights. There was no written agreements between the two parties though Halpern claims that he holds a time capsule that holds his original business plan for Celluride. This might not be a strong case for Halpern's claims but it will be interesting to see just how the lawsuit plays out.
Since its release, Uber has received some flack. Drivers are considered contractors meaning that Uber will not have to provide some of the benefits as a normal employee like health insurance. Additionally, Uber has been looked down upon from various companies that offer drivers for hire as the price is generally cheaper when compared.