New details emerge in Google lawsuit that alleges former employee Anthony Levandowski plotted to steal trade secrets and take them to Uber
A former Google employee secretly collaborated with competing self-driving car companies for years before allegedly stealing trade secrets and bringing the proprietary technology to Uber, according to a new court filing.
Anthony Levandowski now head of Ubers self-driving program and a key player in Googles high-profile intellectual property lawsuit against Uber collected $120m in incentive payments from Google, according to the claim, all while he was breaching his obligations to Google and building a company that would compete with Google. The filing also alleges that while at Google, he helped the company investigate one of two competing firms with which he was involved.
The filing provides new details about Googles case against Levandowski, suggesting that his alleged plot to steal trade secrets involved his clandestine association with the side companies dating back to 2012. The claims have come to light a week after Levandowski invoked his fifth amendment right, with his lawyers stating in court that there is potential for criminal action.
Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Googles parent Alphabet, first filed the suit against Uber in February, accusing the ride-share company of engaging in the calculated theft of its technology. The complaint claimed that Levandowski downloaded sensitive, secret, and valuable internal Waymo information before leaving to start his own self-driving truck company, Otto, which Uber acquired for $680m in 2016.
The lawsuit, which could be a fatal setback for Ubers self-driving car ambitions, stems from Waymos proprietary LiDAR system, which are the eyes the cars use to observe and respond to the world around the vehicles.
Spokespeople for Google and Uber declined to comment, and a lawyer for Levandowski did not respond to a request for comment.
The filing claimed that Levandowski was previously involved in two enterprises known as Odin Wave and Tyto Lidar. Odin Wave was incorporated around August 2012 and listed at an address owned by Levandowski, according to the filing. In 2013, Google said it learned that Odin Wave had submitted an order for a part that was similar to one used by Google in its unique and proprietary laser technology for self-driving cars.