New details emerge in Google lawsuit that alleges former employee Anthony Levandowski plotted to steal trade secret and take them to Uber

A former Google employee secretly collaborated with vying self-driving car corporations for years before allegedly stealing trade secret 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 compiled $120 m in incentive payments from Google, according to the claim, all while he was breaching his obligations to Google and house a company that would compete with Google. The filing likewise alleges that while at Google, he helped the company investigate one of two vying firms with which he was involved.

The filing offer new details about Googles case against Levandowski, suggesting that his alleged plot to steal trade secret involved his clandestine association with the side corporations 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 corporation owned by Googles parent Alphabet, first filed the suit against Uber in February, accusing the ride-share company of engaging in the calculated stealing of its technology. The objection claimed that Levandowski downloaded sensitive, secret, and valuable internal Waymo information before leaving to start his own self-driving truck corporation, Otto, which Uber acquired for $ 680 m 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 endeavours 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 ordering for a part that was similar to one used by Google in its unique and proprietary laser technology for self-driving automobiles.

Anthony
Anthony Levandowski, head of Ubers self-driving program, speaks about their driverless car in San Francisco. Photograph: Eric Risberg/ AP

At the time, Levandowski denied having any possession interest in Odin Wave, who subsequently merged with a firm called Tyto Lidar. The administrator of Tyto, which was developing LiDAR sensor modules, was friends with Levandowski and worked with Levandowski on an early, self-driving vehicle prototype, the filing said.

Levandowski was involved in the side corporations while he was working on Googles LiDAR sensor modules, according to the claim. In 2015, Google began to investigate possibly buying or utilizing Tytos products or purchasing the company, and Levandowski was a part of that process while at Google.

Levandowski visited Tytos headquarters as part of the investigation and gain a better understanding of Googles confidential opinion of Tytos technology and the viability of Tytos business, according to the claim. Levandowski did not disclose his relationship with Tyto and its employees, which, according to the claim conflicted with Levandowskis jobs to Google.

In May 2016, Tyto merged with Otto, shortly before Uber bought Otto.

The filing released on Monday was authored by Googles lawyers in October 2016, outlining the case against Levandowski. The document, however, had recently come to illuminate now because Uber filed it as evidence to support its push to have the case resolved in private arbitration, as to report to a public trial. The document is an earlier arbitration demand from Google against Levandowski.

In what appears to be a redaction correct by Ubers lawyers, the documents revealed that Otto co-founder Lior Ron was also targeted in the earlier arbitration demand from Google. Uber has now been kept his name secret and appeared to redact it throughout the filing except on one page.

The lawsuit and stealing claims are one of many scandals besetting Uber. CEO Travis Kalanick has faced widespread criticisms for a company culture that enables sexual harassment and discrimination, and the co-founder was also recently caught on video berating a motorist.

The company has also faced numerous high-profile departures and backlash for a secretive tool it used to evade law enforcement.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ technology/ 2017/ apr/ 03/ google-waymo-uber-self-driving-car-lawsuit-collaboration-competitors