Ex-Waymo engineer Levandowski sentenced to 18 months in prison

Engadget 

US District Judge William Alsup has sentenced Anthony Levandowski, the former lead Waymo engineer at the heart of a trade secret legal battle between the Alphabet subsidiary and Uber, to 18 months in prison. Prosecutors sought a 27-month sentence, while Levandowski requested a one-year home confinement, telling the court that his recent bouts with pneumonia makes him susceptible to COVID--19. According to TechCrunch, Alsup shot his request down, explaining that home confinement and a short prison sentence "[give] a green light to every future brilliant engineer to steal trade secrets. That said, he allowed Levandowski to enter custody once the pandemic has subsided. Alphabet filed a lawsuit against Uber in 2017, accusing the company of colluding with its former employee to steal secrets from Waymo. While Levandowski didn't immediately join Uber after leaving the Google division that eventually became Waymo, the ride-hailing titan quickly acquired the self-driving truck startup he founded. In its lawsuit, Alphabet said its former employee downloaded over 14,000 confidential and proprietary design files for various Waymo hardware, including its LiDAR system. The two companies reached a settlement in 2018, with Waymo making sure that Uber would develop its own self-driving technology. In mid--March this year, Levandowski agreed to plead guilty to one count of stealing materials from Google to make other criminal charges go away. "The last three and a half years have forced me to come to terms with what I did.

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