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Uber robocar engineer may face criminal action, says lawyer

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-03-2017 Joel Rosenblatt

San Francisco: The engineer at the centre of Alphabet Inc.’s explosive allegations that Uber Technologies Inc. stole critical trade secrets for self-driving cars faces potential criminal charges, according to a copy of a court transcript obtained by Bloomberg News.

A lawyer for Anthony Levandowski, who left Alphabet’s Waymo unit last year and is now head of Uber’s driverless car project, told a San Francisco federal judge the engineer would be asserting his rights under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, protecting a person from being required to testify against himself, according to the transcript, which wasn’t immediately available from the court docket.

“Given the nature of the allegations in this case, we recognize that there’s potential for criminal action,” attorney Miles Ehrlich told US District Judge William Alsup, according to the transcript. “We’re brought into advise him in that regard.”

Ehrlich said there’s no pending subpoena against Levandowski.

Uber and its robocar unit, Otto, have denied the claims in Waymo’s February lawsuit that they pilfered proprietary information.

“We look forward to our first public response laying out our case on Friday, 7 April,” Angela Padilla, Uber’s associate general counsel, said in a statement. “We are very confident that Waymo’s claims against Uber are baseless and that Anthony Levandowski has not used any files from Google in his work with Otto or Uber.”

Waymo declined to comment on the transcript. Bloomberg

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