Uber fires engineer at center of trade secret suit

Krales  The Verge

Uber Technologies Inc. said Monday it fired Anthony Levandowski, the driverless-car executive at the center of its legal battle with Google parent Alphabet Inc., making good on its threat to dismiss him if he didn't cooperate with court orders.

Waymo, Google's self-driving vehicle company, is suing Uber for allegedly using technology stolen by Levandowski while he was still at Google.

Uber in a letter to Levandowski filed in court on Tuesday said it was firing him for cause, since he had not complied with a court order to hand over documents.

A telephone message was left Tuesday afternoon for Levandowski.

Uber has followed through on threats to fire star autonomous-car researcher Anthony Levandowski, whose hiring touched off a bitter trade-secrets fight with Waymo, the former self-driving auto arm of Google. It said that Levandowski was sacked for cause and that he has a contractual right to correct "deficiencies" within 20 days.

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Mr. Levandowski and his lawyers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging that the ride-hail company was using the stolen documents to advance its lidar technology, and the case between the two Silicon Valley firms is set to go to trial in October.

San Francisco-based Uber appears to be blaming the stolen documents exclusively on Levandowski in an effort to defend itself against Waymo's lawsuit. The deal was reported to have a price tag of $680 million. In the NY magazine profile, telling his coworkers he was glad that Uber didn't have "the first death" due to self-driving vehicles.

Over the last few months Uber has provided significant evidence to the court to demonstrate that our self-driving technology has been built independently.

Uber has denied any wrongdoing, but Levandowski has invoked his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

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