Former Google engineer at center of Waymo-Uber case charged with stealing trade secrets

Kirsten Korosec for TechCrunch:

Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer and serial entrepreneur who was at the center of a trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on theft of trade secrets.

The indictment… charges Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets while working at Google, where he was an engineer and one of the founding members of the group that worked on Google’s self-driving car project. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins.

If convicted, Levandowski faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each violation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The charges stem from Levandowski’s time at Google’s self-driving project, where he led its light detecting and ranging (lidar) engineering team, according to the indictment. The indictment alleges that in the months before his departure, Levandowski downloaded from secure Google repositories numerous engineering, manufacturing, and business files related to Google’s custom lidar and self-driving car technology. Levandowski worked on the project from 2009 until he resigned from Google without notice on January 27, 2016.

Levandowski left Google and started Otto, a self-driving trucking company that was then bought by Uber. Waymo later sued Uber for trade secret theft.

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds bad.


    1. Person works for Company A. While in the employ of Company A Person creates inventions B,C, and D which Company A patents. Person leaves company A to start company E. He builds up his on work as covered by inventions/patents B,C, and D which at Company E. Company A doesn’t care because Company E isn’t making any product. Company F sees Company E is doing and decides to buy it. Company A is in competition with Company F and decides to sue for theft. Except Person never “stole” anything they just kept good records of their own efforts and wanted to continue on in their desired direction, not their original employers desired direction.

      Legally, obviously Company A is right. Morally, Company A can go take a leap.

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