A former Google engineer accused of stealing trade secrets for Uber has filed for bankruptcy after being ordered to pay $179 million to his former employer.
Anthony Levandowski was the central figure of one of Silicon Valley’s most-watched courtroom battles, when Google’s self-driving car company Waymo sued Uber for $2 billion, accusing it of using trade secrets stolen by Levandowski.
The star engineer allegedly downloaded 14,000 Waymo documents in December 2015 as he was about to leave his job after being poached by then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
After leaving Waymo, Levandowski formed an autonomous trucking company called Otto which was promptly acquired by Uber.
Uber and Waymo eventually settled the dispute to the tune of $245 million, but Levandowski was charged by San Francisco federal prosecutors in August with looting the top-secret files. That case is still open.
After being ordered to pay $179 million to Google, he promptly filed for bankruptcy after claiming that his assets amount to less than $100 million.
The order is a confirmation of a December ruling by an arbitration panel that Levandowski violated an agreement he had with Google to not poach employees, which he did when he left the company.
It is not yet clear whether Levandowski will have to shell out the $179 million to Google. Uber agreed to pay his legal fees as part of his employment with the company. However, the ride-hail giant indicated Monday that it might not pay up easily.
“While Uber and Levandowski are parties to an indemnification agreement, whether Uber is ultimately responsible for such indemnification is subject to a dispute between the company and Levandowski,” Uber said.
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