July 23, 2017

Uber to engineer: Return stolen docs, or swear you didn’t steal them

Anthony Levandowski in 2011
By shinnygogo [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a bluntly worded letter, Uber told a star engineer that he must return any purloined Waymo documents or deny under oath having stolen them, and threatened to fire him if he doesn’t comply.

Uber’s letter to Anthony Levandowski, written Monday by Uber general counsel Salle Yoo and made public late Thursday night, is the latest salvo in the case of Waymo vs. Uber. Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Mountain View’s Alphabet, says that its former employee Levandowski illegally downloaded 14,000 documents and brought that stolen technology to Uber, which is in a race to develop robot cars. In February Waymo sued Uber and its subsidiary Otto, a startup founded by Levandowski, alleging unfair competition, patent infringement and the theft of trade secrets.

Yoo wrote the letter under a court order. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, in a ruling released Monday, said Waymo had “compelling evidence” of Levandowski’s alleged downloading, and ordered Uber to return the documents to Waymo by May 31. Uber, which denies wrongdoing, has testified that it scoured its computers but has been unable to locate any of the materials.

Reuters has reported that on Thursday, a U.S. judge called for an investigation into allegations of […]

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