Uber executive Anthony Levandowski is choosing to assert his Fifth Amendment rights during legal proceedings, after the self-driving car arm of Google parent corporation Alphabet filed a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company for stealing classified data.
Lawyers advised Levandowski not say anything out of fear of incriminating himself, according to Business Insider.
Levandowski, who is the co-founder of Otto, Uber’s driverless vehicle subsidiary, was one of the original members of Waymo, Google’s driverless car initiative. He is considered one of the premier engineers in Silicon Valley, especially for autonomous vehicle technology. (RELATED: Uber, Anheuser-Busch Use Self-Driving Truck To Deliver 45,000 Cans Of ‘America’)
Waymo accuses Levandowski of downloading “over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems” roughly six weeks prior to resigning from the company. It also claims that he downloaded several files that include trade secrets and blueprints, as well as trying to poach employees to come join him just before quitting.
“Ultimately, this calculated theft reportedly netted Otto employees over half a billion dollars and allowed Uber to revive a stalled program, all at Waymo’s expense,” the official lawsuit reads.
Uber purchased Otto for $680 million only six months after Levandowski established the startup, according to The New York Times.
Before the lawsuit, Waymo originally wanted to settle the case outside of court through official arbitration, according to a recent Reuters report. (RELATED: Big Tech Always Ends Up With Big Lawsuits)
Such lawsuits are not uncommon. The tech conglomerate Tesla filed a lawsuit against a former executive, alleging the staff member stole confidential data and tried to shepherd other employees towards a self-driving startup he was spearheading.
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