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Bombshell lawsuit alleges Uber engineer stole secrets from Tesla after stealing from Google

Published Jan 16th, 2018 12:53PM EST
Anthony Levandowski
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

One of the crazier tech stories from last year was the lawsuit involving Waymo — Google’s self-driving car subsidiary — and Uber. Per the suit, a Waymo engineer named Anthony Levandowski was accused of secretly copying hundreds of gigabytes of proprietary code, only to abruptly quit, start a new company, and subsequently leverage said code into a buyout offer from Uber.

Though Uber initially denied the allegations, the ridesharing company ultimately fired Levandowski last year after he refused to hand over a collection of documents pertinent to the case.

A few months later, Levandowski now finds himself at the center of a new controversy. As detailed by Wired, Levandowski’s former nanny Erika Wong has accused the former Google and Uber engineer of not only violating a slew of employment laws, but of also seeking to obtain sensitive information about vehicular projects at Tesla. What’s more, the lawsuit includes an allegation that Levandowski was considering driving up to Canada as a means to avoid prison time in the United States.

In her complaint, Wong alleges that Levandowski was paying a Tesla engineer for updates on its electric truck program, selling microchips abroad, and creating new startups using stolen trade secrets. Her complaint also describes Levandowski reacting to the arrival of the Waymo lawsuit against Uber, strategizing with then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and discussing fleeing to Canada to escape prosecution.

One of the more interesting tidbits of the suit involves Wong’s description of Levandowski’s behavior once Waymo filed legal action against Uber.

According to court records, Wong recalls Levandowski screaming, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! How could they do this to me? Miles, what about the clause, you … said this would work! What do I do with the discs? What do the contracts say? It’s all mine, the money, the deals, it’s all mine. What about ‘the shit?’ These are all my fucking deals!”

Following that, Wong — who is seeking $6 million in damages — notes that Travis Kalanick, then the CEO of Uber, showed up at Levandowski’s house where the two spent five hours together.

For what it’s worth, Levandowski’s legal counsel claims the entire suit is frivolous while expressing confidence that it will be swiftly “dismissed by the courts.”

The entire suit is chock full of spectacular accusations, including an allegation that Levandowski spent much of last year selling trade secrets to parties abroad. The entire breakdown of the lawsuit is quite a read and you can check it out in full over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.