A company called Uber Technologies Inc. created a ride-sharing system that was reportedly worth nearly $40 billion at its last valuation. A California man recently filed business litigation against the company and its Chief Executive Officer claiming the original idea for the program was his. Uber says it will fight the lawsuit and claims that the man's allegations are without basis.
The California man says that when he lived on the east coast, he realized that it could be a challenge to get a taxi. He devised a way to use GPS technology and cell phones to get passengers and drivers together. In 2003, he allegedly began a company called Celluride Wireless and by 2006 had created a cell phone prototype for the concept.
He claims that he had a closed-door meeting with the CEO of Uber Technologies in San Francisco during which he laid out the whole idea. He also alleges that the conversation was confidential. Then, in 2009, Uber Technologies was founded and began San Francisco's ride sharing program, which the man claims is his idea exactly, just under a different name. The allegations in the lawsuit claim that the man sustained damages over $1 billion.
The outcome of this business litigation is now in the hands of the courts. This is certainly not the first case in which one person has accused another person or company of stealing an idea. Companies are often forced to defend their products and services against people making similar claims. A business that finds itself in this situation would benefit from the advice and assistance of someone familiar with laws governing intellectual property such as trade names, trademarks and patents.
Source: Reuters, "California man sues Uber claiming it stole ride-sharing idea", Andrew Chung, May 15, 2015