Uber built on stolen idea, lawsuit alleges
California man suing Uber CEO and early investors for 'creating exact replica' of his own ride-sharing service
The latest legal trouble faced by global ride-sharing firm Uber has come in the form of a lawsuit filed by a California man, who claims that the company and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, stole his idea.
According to reports, Kevin Halpern alleges that he first came up with the idea of a phone-based taxi service, and that Uber and its early investors stole the idea through ‘misappropriation of trade secrets' as well as breach of contract. He claims to have suffered damages above $1bn, it was reported by Reuters.
Halpern's evidence comes in the fact that he started a company called Culluride Wireless in 2003. Uber was launched in 2009.
"Kalanick created an exact replica of Celluride and called it Uber," Halpern said in a YouTube video that he made detailing his complaint.
He added in the video that, as a New York resident, he had come up with the idea of Celluride - which aimed to link drivers and passengers using GPS - when trying to solve the problem of getting taxis in the city. He said that he had first started with a website, and by 2006 had built a prototype for mobile.
However, he said that, around this time, he met Uber's Kalanick at an office in San Francisco. He said that the two had discussed Celluride and that Kalanick had promised to keep the concept secret. In return, Halpern would share his concepts, designs and prototypes, he claimed.
Halpern is also suing a group of Uber's early investors.
Uber recently completed another round of funding, and is currently valued at $40bn. Reuters quoted an Uber statement calling the lawsuit "completely baseless".