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Author Topic: Ex-Google engineer charged with taking self-driving car trade secrets  (Read 717 times)

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced a criminal indictment against ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski.

The indictment charges Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets.

The government alleges Levandowski downloaded thousands of confidential files from Google’s self-driving car project before resigning and eventually creating a startup that was acquired by Uber.

Former Alphabet engineer arrested for trade secret theft
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a criminal indictment against ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski Tuesday.

The DOJ announced the 33 charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets at a press conference in San Jose, alleging Levandowski took confidential information from Google to Uber.

Levandowski had worked at Google’s self-driving car project which later became known as Waymo. But according to the indictment, he left in 2016 to launch his own self-driving truck company that was later acquired by Uber.

Levandowski is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time

The indictment alleges Levandowski downloaded thousands of files from Waymo’s predecessor, Project Chauffeur, in the months before he left Google. The files allegedly included “critical engineering information about the hardware used on Project Chauffeur self-driving vehicles,” and that Levandowski transferred files onto his personal laptop.

Levandowski surrendered himself at the San Jose courthouse Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said. Both Uber and Google cooperated with government officials, Anderson told reporters, acknowledging the investigation is ongoing.

The indictment echoes a lawsuit Waymo brought against Uber in February 2017, which was settled about a year later. Waymo claimed in the lawsuit that drawings of 3-D sensors known as Lidar for Uber’s self-driving car project revealed a “striking resemblance” to Waymo’s own designs. The suit also alleged Levandowski took “extraordinary efforts to raid Waymo’s design server and then conceal his activities,” after downloading over 14,000 confidential and proprietary files before resigning.
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