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Ex-Google and Uber engineer charged with technology theft

2019-08-27 18:03 by
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A former Google engineer was charged Tuesday with stealing self-driving-car technology from the company shortly before he joined Uber's efforts to catch up in the high-stakes race to build robotic vehicles.

Anthony Levandowski is charged with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets and is to be arraigned on the charges today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins with the Northern District in San Jose, California, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He self-surrendered to law enforcement following the indictment, according to a law enforcement official.

Prior to his departure from Google, according to the indictment, Levandowski downloaded 14,000 files containing "critical engineering information" about the company's self-driving vehicles.

"All of us have the right to change jobs," United States Attorney David L. Anderson said in a press release announcing the indictment. "None of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door. Theft is not innovation."

Shortly after Levandowski left Google, he founded Otto, a self-driving truck startup, which was quickly acquired by Uber for nearly $700 million. Waymo has long argued that Uber wound up with those allegedly stolen files and merely masqueraded the process as an acquisition.

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