The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused a former Google and Uber engineer of stealing Google’s trade secrets related to the company’s Waymo self-driving car division.
You might remember Anthony Scott Levandowski for creating a new religion. The 39-year-old engineer has been indicted by United States Attorney David L. Anderson in San Jose. According to the DOJ, Levandowski has been charged with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft.
If proven guilty, Levandowski will have to serve ten years in jail and will be slapped with a fine of $250,000 as compensation.
The accusation further suggests that Levandowski had relations with two other companies — Tyto LiDAR LLC and 280 Systems, Inc. (which eventually became Ottomotto).
The Levandowski Case
It is suggested that Levandowski (before leaving Google in 2016), stole engineering, manufacturing, and business files, which were associated with Google’s LiDAR (Light Detecting and Ranging) technology.
The files included information such as circuit board schematics, instructions for installing and testing LiDAR, and an internal tracking document.
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Following his exit from Google, Levandowski started his self-driving truck firm, which was further sold to Uber for around $700 million. Google alleges that Uber has used the same LiDAR technology that belongs to Google.
To recall, Google’s Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber back in 2017 alleging that Levandowski had stolen around 14,000 documents from Google.
Following the lawsuit, Uber fired Levandowski in 2017, suggesting that he was a problem for the company. Uber even denied that it did not use any of the files stolen by Levandowski from Google.
A Little History
For those who don’t know, Levandowski was among the founding people associated with the Waymo division. He has been a part of the self-driving segment since 2009, following his resignation due to unknown reasons.
The verdict is yet to be announced. Hence, stay tuned for further updates.