Ex-Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski accused of stealing trade secrets

The accused Anthony Levandowski, an expert in autonomous cars, pled 'not guilty' of stealing secrets from Google before joining Uber.

Anthony Levandowski, a self-driving car technology expert, has been charged for stealing trade secrets from Google before joining rival Uber. The Wall Street Journal reported that Justice Department officials announced the indictment against Levandowski in a press conference.

The charges are based on 33 downloads of information that “was reasonably protected by Google, has economic value and was not generally known,” officials said. Levandowski, 39-years-old, surrendered on Tuesday morning at the federal courthouse in San Jose. He pleaded not guilty.

Source: Wikimedia

His lawyers said that Levandowski stole nothing and they looked forward to proving his innocence in court. The former Google engineer pleaded not guilty to the charges through one of his lawyers at an arraignment before the US Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California.

The judge set a preliminary bail package of $300,000 cash and the pledging as collateral of two properties worth $2 million. Another hearing to set final bail terms has been scheduled for September 4 as government lawyers said they needed more time to assess Levandowski’s finances.

This case will reshape the future of transportation and the way trade secrets are protected when employees leave companies. 

In the settlement, which capped a particularly contentious chapter in the fight to dominate the future of driverless cars, Uber had promised not to use technology from Alphabet’s Waymo unit and to give Waymo a chunk of equity.

The worldwide Autonomous Cars Market, according to Market Watch, is anticipated to reach over 263,532 units by 2026 according to new research. In 2017, North America accounted for the majority share in the global autonomous cars market.

The increasing adoption of connected cars, along with growing need to automate driving to reduce human errors majorly drives the autonomous cars market growth.

Market players such as Google, BMW, and Mercedes are increasingly developing advanced technologies for self-driving cars. The increasing need for improved road safety, and increasing disposable income would encourage consumers to invest in autonomous cars.

Other factors driving the autonomous cars market growth include technological advancements, growing adoption of IoT (Internet of Things), and dynamic mobility services.

New emerging markets, emerging consumer demographics, and significant investments in research and development would provide numerous growth opportunities in the market during the forecast period.

No wonder Google wants to fight Uber.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)