Engineer in Trade-Secrets Case Is Sentenced -- WSJ
August 05 2020 - 07:02AM
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By Preetika Rana https://ih.advfn.com/stock-market/NASDAQ/alphabet-GOOGL/stock-news/83002093/engineer-in-trade-secrets-case-is-sentenced-wsj
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (August 5, 2020).
Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of a yearslong legal battle between Google's self-driving unit and Uber Technologies Inc., was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison on one count of stealing trade secrets.
The judge in the case temporarily suspended the incarceration because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Levandowski's lawyer said.
Mr. Levandowski reached a deal with prosecutors in March, under which he pleaded guilty to theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google's self-driving program "with the intent to use it to benefit someone other than Google," according to a legal filing at the time.
Mr. Levandowski left Google's self-driving unit, Waymo, in 2016 and helped start a company soon acquired by Uber. Google parent Alphabet Inc. sued Uber in 2017, claiming that Mr. Levandowski stole more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving Google. Waymo and Uber settled the lawsuit in 2018, but a judge in the case asked federal prosecutors to investigate Uber and Mr. Levandowski over possible trade-secret theft.
"Anthony deeply regrets his past decisions," his lawyers said in a statement, thanking the judge for the deferral of the imprisonment. Mr. Levandowski is expected to return to court in February to determine when his prison term might begin, his lawyer said.
An Uber spokesman declined to comment on the sentencing. Lawyers for Mr. Levandowski didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. A Waymo spokeswoman said the company last month sent a letter to the U.S. probations office asking that Mr. Levandowski be sentenced to between 24 and 30 months in prison.
"His misconduct was enormously disruptive and harmful to Waymo, constituted a betrayal, and the financial effects would likely have been even more severe had it gone undetected," the letter said.
Tuesday's sentencing resolves the criminal charges against Mr. Levandowski, but there are other cases pending in U.S. courts. Mr. Levandowski, who filed for bankruptcy in March, filed a new lawsuit last month, demanding a payout from Uber.
The Uber spokesman called the filing desperate and declined to comment further.