Lawyer in Uber idea theft case slowly backs away from his client
Remember that weird Winkelvoss-aspirational lawsuit filed against Uber for idea theft that was publicized by uh… an amateur movie trailer? The Uber lawsuit that even Pando didn’t think had much merit?
Yeah, some news on that.
The lawyers who went very aggressive with a big PR splash telling Pando-- "It is deadly serious, it is not someone grasping at straws"-- are ever so slowly backing away from the case. The reason? “An irreparable and complete breakdown of communications.”
As we noted, plaintiff Kevin Halpern had already sued cofounders before.
From an article on Law360:
This isn’t the first time Halpern has faced problems in court. In February 2013, a state judge sanctioned him for not meeting discovery requests in a case in which he accused a former business partner of breaking an oral agreement to collaborate on an Internet product and a company that would market it.
The lower court said Halpern, who allegedly claimed he couldn’t sit in a chair in a deposition room because it had too much dust and its chairs were uncomfortable, was “clowning around.” An appeals court upheld the ruling the following year.
This is the thing you always have to bear in mind with legal threats against controversial startups-- and yes at both TechCrunch and Pando I’ve lived through more than I can count on two hands. Sometimes controversial companies get in a lot of lawsuits because they are constantly doing things wrong. And sometimes, people file a lot of threatening legal letters or suits against controversial companies because they guess it’s an easy payday because these companies are so blighted that people will believe any bad behavior.
This case-- unlike other recent cases Uber has settled related to the death of a child by an Uber driver and the infamous Delhi rape incident-- has always seemed like the latter. I’m no fan of Uber and don’t think they’re troubled by too many ethics. But I knew Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in the early days of this company and there was no evidence they stole the idea. Even Halpern’s case seemed to detail a company sketched out pre-iPhone and Android-- the devices that really gave birth to an opportunity on the scale of Uber.
If the lawyer is losing confidence, this may be one of the only Uber-headaches that’s going away on its own. Good news for Uber. With Kalanick’s third “personality reboot” flailing, an unwinnable war in China, and laughable efforts to take on food delivery (literally according to Stephen Colbert) the company needs some good news.