A California businessman has filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. claiming that he had the idea for the technology that the transportation network company uses. The entrepreneur alleges in his lawsuit that he came up with the idea in 2002, and he says that he shared his vision of a smartphone app that used GPS technology to arrange rides with two individuals. One of these individuals went on to become a founder of Uber, and the other became an investor in the company.
The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on May 14, and it seeks damages for the misappropriation of trade secrets. The plaintiff claims that he could have earned $1 billion had he been able to develop his idea. Uber was formed in 2009 and now has a presence in 57 countries. Uber's two founders and several of its investors are named as defendants. Uber has denied the allegations.
The attorney representing the plaintiff is also involved in two other legal actions against the transportation company. He represents the family of a San Francisco girl who was killed after being struck by an Uber vehicle in December 2014, and he is also co-counsel in a lawsuit brought by 19 taxi companies who claim that Uber's advertising is misleading.
Allegations of trade secret misappropriation are often complex and difficult to prove, but the damages awarded in these cases are sometimes significant. An attorney with a background in business litigation could help business owners to avoid such lawsuits by ensuring that their intellectual property is protected by patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Source: CBS News, "Uber founders sued, accused of stealing idea", May 15, 2015