Anthony Levandowski, the founder of Waymo, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison by an American judge. Levandowski is accused of stealing self-driving car trade secrets. He stole it from Google. Later his company came into the hands of Uber.
The former Google technician himself had asked for a fine, house arrest for 12 months, and two hundred hours of community service. The judge did not agree with that. According to TechCrunch, the judge said that house arrest would, in effect, “ be a license for any future brilliant technician to steal trade secrets too. ” The judge thought a prison sentence was appropriate; he called it the biggest case of trade secret theft he has ever seen. Levandowski also agreed to pay Waymo more than $ 756,000 and a fine of $ 95,000. He also apologized to his former Google colleagues.
The prosecution had demanded a higher sentence of 27 months in prison. According to the prosecution, Levandowski stole the data because of his ego or out of greed and would have remained a rich man. She argues that the theft of the documents obliterated many people’s contributions, noting that blood, sweat and tears have accumulated in the project to make self-driving cars safer. Waymo says the theft did indeed harm the company.
In March, a jury already determined that Levandowski must pay a total of $ 179 million in damages to his former employer. On that basis, he was declared bankrupt, because he could not afford it. Levandowski does not let it pass, however; he recently started a case against Uber. If his claims in that case were upheld in court, he could receive at least $ 4.1 billion, according to the indictment.
When Levandowski left Google a few years ago, he founded Otto, a company focused on self-driving vehicles. Uber acquired Otto in 2016 for $ 680 million within six months of its founding. The goal of the takeover would have been to acquire self-driving technology. Levandowski reportedly copied 14,000 documents upon his departure detailing the engineering behind Google’s self-driving car. That led to a lawsuit, lawsuit and ultimately a settlement between Google sister company Waymo and Uber.