(Reuters) — A U.S. decide on Tuesday sentenced former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski to 18 months in jail for stealing a commerce secret from Google associated to self-driving automobiles months earlier than turning into the top of Uber’s rival unit.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco mentioned Levandowski, who was convicted on Tuesday following a March plea settlement, mentioned Levandowski might enter custody as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
Alsup mentioned a sentence in need of imprisonment would have given “a green light to every future brilliant engineer to steal trade secrets,” evaluating what Levandowski took to a “competitor’s game plan.”
The 75-year-old decide, who has been concerned in Silicon Valley litigation for practically 5 many years, described Levandowski’s conviction because the “biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen.”
“Billions [of dollars] in the future were at play, and when those kind of financial incentives are there good people will do terrible things, and that’s what happened here,” Alsup mentioned.
Prosecutors sought a 27-month jail sentence.
Levandowski requested one-year confinement at his Marin County house, contending that bouts with pneumonia lately would make him inclined to loss of life from the novel coronavirus whereas in jail. His attorneys requested the decide to think about that investigators discovered no proof that “Levandowski used any of Google’s trade secrets after leaving Google’s employment.”
Levandowski transferred greater than 14,000 Google information together with growth schedules and product designs to his private laptop computer earlier than leaving the corporate and whereas negotiating a take care of Uber, the place he briefly led its self-driving automobile unit.
Uber fired Levandowski in 2017 after which settled a lawsuit from Alphabet over the misuse of commerce secrets and techniques, setting again the ride-hailing firm’s self-driving challenge.
The dispute between the businesses is ongoing. Levandowski filed for chapter in March as a result of he owes $179 million to Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google for his actions earlier than resigning in January 2016.
Google final week requested the chapter decide to reject Uber’s argument that it’s not liable for paying the $179 million below his previous employment settlement.
Levandowski, who now runs self-driving truck firm Pronto, apologized to Google and mentioned he plans to share his story of remorse with others within the tech trade.
“Today marks the end of three and a half long years and the beginning of another long road ahead,” he mentioned in a press release.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler)