Ex-Waymo engineer charged with stealing documents

Previously settled Anthony Levandowski case resurfaces as criminal charges are filed

An engineer who formerly worked at Google has been charged with stealing self-driving car technology before he left the company to join industry rival, Uber.

Anthony Levandowski, a founding member of Google's self-driving car division Waymo, is alleged to have downloaded a number of sensitive corporate files before attempting to trade them away, according to court filings.

Levandowski downloaded files including circuit board schematics, instructions for installing and testing light detecting and ranging (LiDAR) as well as an internal tracking document, it is claimed.

He now faces 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets. He's also alleged to have been involved with two competing forces including Tyto LiDAR LLC and 280 Systems Inc, which fall under the umbrella of Uber.

If convicted, the former Google engineer will be faced with a maximum prison sentence of ten years as well as a fine of $250,000 plus damages for each violation of the law.

One of Levandowski's lawyers insisted he was innocent, according to the LA Times, claiming "he didn't steal anything from anyone," in a statement he read outside the courthouse yesterday when the charges were revealed. "This case rehashes claims already discredited in a civil case that settled more than a year ago," he added.

Levandowski was fired from Uber more than two years ago when he was at the centre of a previous legal dispute after he refused to hand over documents requested by Waymo and a federal court judge.

Waymo sued Uber in February 2017, alleging the company illicitly used 14,000 documents that Levandowski stole from the firm while he was still an employee. He had worked at the company since it was founded in 2009, before resigning in January 2016 without giving notice.

Uber eventually settled the lawsuit with Waymo for $245 million in February 2018.

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