Uber's Former Self-Driving Head Accused Of Trade Secret Theft

Uber’s former self-driving chief Anthony Levandowski was personally accused of trade secret theft as part of an employment lawsuit filed by his former babysitter Erika Wong who worked for the engineer over a seven-month period ending June 2017, Wired reports. While the litigation focuses on wages Mr. Lewandowski supposedly owes the plaintiff, as well as violations of other employment laws, it also contains a wide variety of allegations regarding his other dealings said to have been observed by Ms. Wong, all of which were presumably included in the lawsuit to support the claim that withholding pay isn’t something that would be uncharacteristic for the defendant.

The 81-page complaint accuses the former engineer of Uber and what would later become Alphabet’s Waymo of bribing Tesla employee “Pat Green” to provide him with updates in regards to the company’s progress on its electric trucks. Once Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging trade secret theft mediated by Mr. Levandowski, Ms. Wong claims the 37-year-old discussed the possibility of fleeing to Canada with his brother Mike, dating that conversation to April 27th. While the engineer wasn’t named as a defendant in Waymo’s lawsuit, his self-driving truck startup Otto was, with Alphabet’s subsidiary alleging the trade secrets taken from it by Mr. Levandowski ended up being obtained and used by Uber after the ride-hailing giant acquired the startup for $680 million in the summer of 2016. The plaintiff goes on to suggest Mr. Levandowski was making money selling trade secrets in the form of chip designs abroad.

The creator of the first self-driving car tested on public roads in the U.S. was fired by Uber in late May after refusing to cooperate in an internal investigation prompted by the Waymo lawsuit. Ms. Wong is seeking $6 million in damages based on her supposedly unpaid wages and working conditions which violated a number of labor laws. A spokesperson for Mr. Levandowski called the litigation “frivolous” and “a work of fiction.” The original complaint contains some factual inaccuracies such as the defendant’s residency details and is set to be the subject of a management conference in early April. Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber is moving to trial on February 5th following several delays, nearly a year after the original litigation was filed.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]