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Anthony Levandowski sentenced to 18 months in prison, as new $4B lawsuit against Uber is filed

Anthony Levandowski, the former Google designer and serial inventor who was at the center of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, has been sentenced to 18 months on one count of stealing trade secrets.

Judge Alsup said that home confinement would “[ throw] a green light to every future clever designer to steal trade secrets. Prison time is a response to that.”

During court proceedings today, Levandowski also agreed to pay $ 756,499.22 in restitution to Google and a penalize of $95,000.

” Today marked the end of three and a half long years and the beginning of another long street ahead. I’m thankful to my family and friends for their continued love and endorsement during this difficult time, ” Levandowski said in a statement provided by his attorneys after the sentencing.

The U.S. District Attorney’s office had recommended a 27 -month sentence, bickering in tribunal today that Levandowski had committed the crime for ego or gluttony, and that he remained a wealthy man.

“It was wrong for him to take all of these files, and it erases such contributions of numerous, many other parties that have been previously introduced their blood, sweat and tears into this project that makes a safer self-driving car, ” prosecutor Katherine Wawrzyniak said in her closing testimony. “When someone as splendid as Mr Levandowski and as focused on his mission to create self driving autoes to obligate the world safer and better, and that somehow condones his actions, that’s wrong.”

Levandowski had sought a fine, 12 months dwelling restraint and 200 hours of community service.

Levandowski spoke briefly on his behalf: “The are three and a half years have forced me to come to terms with what I did. I want to make this time to apologize to my colleagues at Google for revealing their confidence, and to my part house for the rate they have paid and will continue to pay for my actions.”

The sentencing is the latest in a series of legal jolts that have recognized Levandowski vilified as a thieving tech bro, unceremoniously ejected from Uber, and forced into bankruptcy by a $179 million bestow against him.

And yet, Levandowski is not skulking apart. Even as he faced years in prison, the dissenter technologist was plotting a comeback that could see him webbing upwards of$ 4 billion from Uber.

TechCrunch has learned that Levandowski recently filed a suit making explosive declares against Waymo and Uber that, if proven, could turn his fortunes around with a multi-billion dollar payout. Whether this is a last-ditch effort by a desperate follower whose career has been upended by his own inadequate choices or a viable claim against a double-dealing tech titan, will be up to the courts to decide.

This new lawsuit, registered as part of Levandowski’s bankruptcy proceedings, primarily focuses on Uber’s agreement to reimburse Levandowski against legal action when it purchase his self-trucking company, Otto Trucking. It also includes brand-new allegations concerning the settlement that Waymo and Uber reached over trade secret theft claims.

“No new comment on this most recent desperate filing, ” an Uber spokesperson said in an email.

The rapid backstory

The criminal case that led to Levandowski’s sentencing Tuesday, as well as related civil proceedings and this new lawsuit, are part of a multi-year legal epic that has mired Levandowksi, Uber and Waymo, the onetime Google self-driving project that is now a business under Alphabet.

Levandowski was an engineer and one of the founding members in 2009 of the Google self-driving project, which was internally called Project Chauffeur. Levandowski was paid about $127 million by Google for his work on Project Chauffeur, according to the court documents.

In 2016, Levandowski left Google and started Otto with three other Google ex-servicemen: Lior Ron , Claire Delaunay and Don Burnette. Uber acquired Otto less than eight months later.

Two months after the acquisition, Google obliged two arbitration demands against Levandowski and Ron. Uber wasn’t a party to either arbitration. However, under the indemnification agreement between Uber and Levandowski, the company was compelled to defend him.

While the arbitrations played out, Waymo separately filed a dispute against Uber in February 2017 for trade secret theft and patent infraction. Waymo alleged in the suit, which went to trial but culminated in a settlement in 2018, that Levandowski stole trade secret, which were then used by Uber.

Under the settlement, Uber agreed to not incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into their hardware and software. Uber also agreed to pay a business agreement that included 0.34% of Uber equity, per its Series G-1 round $72 billion valuation. That calculated at the time to about $244.8 million in Uber equity.

Startling allegations in new lawsuit

This history contents because it is at the center of this new lawsuit that Levandowski filed in July.

He claims that the terms of the Uber-Waymo settlement- which have never been made public- included an arrangement that Uber would never hire or working in collaboration with him again. Levandowski says that resulted in Uber likewise reneging on its promises to support his trucking business.

At closing of the Otto acquisition, an earnout strategy would have given its owners “a percent interest of billions in profit for Uber’s brand-new trucking business, ” the lawsuit alleges. Levandowski would be made a non-executive chairman and control the brand-new trucking business. Alternatively, Uber could diminish to close on the transaction but instead grant Levandowski an exclusive license to Otto’s and Uber’s self-driving technology.

The lawsuit says that neither appeared, and that Uber “threatened to leave the transaction in limbo and magnetism Mr. Levandowski to engage in protracted litigation to enforce his rights under the Otto Trucking Merger Agreement.” Uber then “coerced Mr. Levandowski to resign from Otto Trucking and to sell his interest in the company at a significant discount, ” the lawsuit alleges.

The upshot: Levandowski believes and demands in the lawsuit that he should be awarded earnouts associated with the profits of Uber Freight — the new reputation of Otto Trucking — such amounts that “should be at least $ 4.128 billion.” Uber compiled Uber Freight a separate business component in August 2018. It has since set up a headquarters in Chicago and followed an aggressive swelling even as it suffers damages. Bloomberg recently reported Uber Freight was seeking speculation at a valuation of$ 4BN. In short, Levandowski demands the whole company.

In addition, Levandowski hopes to force Uber to pay the $ 179 million part that was awarded to Google in arbitration.( Google, for my own part, is lamented for Levandowski to dominate. A filingit built in the new lawsuit territory: “[ Levandowski] cannot come close to fully restoring Google( or his other creditors) in this bankruptcy without recovering on his indemnification claim against Uber.”)

The lawsuit also contains the impressive accusation that Levandowski may not have been the only Google employee to make the company’s self-driving car mysteries with them when they left. It observes an independent expert determined that Uber’s self-driving software contained questionable affairs that might require it to enter into a license agreement for consume of Waymo’s intellectual property.

The lawsuit claims that Levandowski did not work on software at Google or Uber, and thus “those trade secret did not come from Mr. Levandowski, but instead a different former Google employee.” It goes on to claim that Waymo and Uber “settled issues relating to theft of trade secret by individuals who are not Levandowski.” It does not identify any such person.

Crime and beating

In August 2019, the U.S. District Attorney billed Levandowski alone with 33 countings of steal and struggled theft of trade secret while working at Google. The indictments interrupted Levandowski’s most recent project and prompted him to steps down as CEO from a startup he co-founded called that is developing an advanced driver assistance system product for trucks.

Levandowski and the U.S. District Attorney reached a plea deal in March 2020 that allowed him to avoid a interminable legal crusade and a potentially tedious prison sentence. Under the plea agreement, Levandowski admitted to downloading thousands of enters related to Project Chauffeur. Specifically, he pleaded guilty to counting 33 of the allegation, which is related to taking what was known as the Chauffeur Weekly Update, a spreadsheet that contained a variety of details including quarterly points and weekly metrics, the team’s objectives and key results as well as epitomes of 15 technological challenges faced by the program and memoranda relevant to previous challenges that had been overcome, according to the filing.

Levandowski said in the request agreement that he downloaded the Chauffeur Weekly Update to his personal laptop on or about January 17, 2016, and retrieved the document after his acquiescence from Google, which appeared about 10 days later.

In a prey affect affirmation, Waymo wrote that Levandowski’s “misconduct was enormously disruptive and harmful to Waymo, constituted a betrayal, ” and sought that his sentence include “a substantial reporting period incarceration.”

With no end to the COVID-1 9 pandemic in sight, it is possible that Levandowski’s latest lawsuit will be resolved before he even reports to jail. He may have been sentenced as a bankrupt, but he could enter prison a billionaire.

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