U.S. charges ex-Alphabet engineer with stealing self-driving car secrets

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed prison charges accusing Anthony Levandowski, a former high-ranking engineer at Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), of stealing the corporate’s self-driving car know-how earlier than becoming a member of rival Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N).

FILE PHOTO: A Waymo self-driving car is seen throughout the annual Google I/O builders convention in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/ Stephen Lam/File Photo

The 33-count indictment largely mirrors allegations that Alphabet’s Waymo unit, the place Levandowski had labored, had made in a civil lawsuit towards Uber in 2017, which later settled.

Lawyers for Levandowski stated their consumer stole nothing and that they seemed ahead to proving his innocence at trial.

Levandowski, who might face a few years in jail and a advantageous if convicted, is predicted to look in a while Tuesday in federal courtroom in San Jose, California.

The prosecution of Levandowski, 39, is certainly one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile instances alleging theft of commerce secrets.

Prosecutors accused Levandowski of stealing supplies in late 2015 and early 2016 associated to Alphabet’s self-driving car know-how. They stated he did this after deciding to depart Alphabet and type his personal self-driving firm, Ottomotto, which Uber later purchased.

The alleged stolen supplies included particulars associated to Lidar, an important sensor know-how, in response to the indictment.

All individuals are free to alter jobs, U.S. Attorney David Anderson stated at a information convention. “But what we cannot do is stuff our pockets on the way out the door.”

Levandowski left Waymo in early 2016 and finally took over Uber’s self-driving car undertaking earlier than being fired. He later began one other self-driving software program firm.

“For more than a decade, Anthony Levandowski has been an industry-leading innovator in self-driving technologies,” certainly one of his attorneys, Miles Ehrlich, stated in entrance of the courthouse, calling the federal government case a “rehash” of already discredited claims.

Levandowski’s attorneys stated the downloads in query occurred whereas he was nonetheless working at Alphabet, and that he was licensed to make use of the data. “He didn’t steal anything, from anyone,” they stated.

Legal battles involving Levandowski have price Uber valuable time on its self-driving car undertaking, which is essential to its long-term profitability.

Anderson declined to reply a reporter’s query on whether or not Uber might additionally face any prison charges.

“The Bay Area has the best and brightest engineers,” FBI particular agent in cost John Bennett stated on the information convention. “But Silicon Valley is not the Wild West. The fast pace and competitive environment does not mean federal laws don’t apply or they can be ignored.”

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Waymo stated it appreciated prosecutors’ work on the case. “We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation,” a spokeswoman stated in a press release.

Uber didn’t instantly reply to a request for…


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