Comment: Ex-Google engineer, was confronted with serious sanctions in a self-driving trade secrets case

(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday brought a criminal case against a former high-ranking Google engineer, claimed that he stole sensitive technology from the company’s self-driving car unit, before he was the arch-rival Uber Technologies Inc. UBER.(N).

FILE PHOTO: A Waymo self-driving vehicle is parked and is displayed at a rally in Chandler, Arizona, on November 29, 2018. (REUTERS photo/Caitlin O ‘ Hara

The united states Department of Justice, said Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Google, the parent company Alphabet, Inc. ‘ s (GOOGL.(O) Waymo unit, and downloaded thousands of files from the Waymo of the servers when he left the company in the year 2015, which is an effort to get a dozen or so of the “trade secrets” with him.

In 2016, Levandowski, one of the pioneers of the industry, the company’s founder, a self-propelled truck, a company that was acquired by Uber.

Levandowski’s alleged conduct was, in the middle of a trial, Waymo brought against Uber by 2017, which will ended up using Uber to pay a settlement of $245 million.

Lawyers Levandowski, said that his client is innocent and did not steal anything from the Waymo.

The following explains how to trade the secrets of the cases work, Levandowski, the potential of the defense, and the amount of the prison he could face if convicted.

What is a trade secret?

Under U.S. law, a trade secret is economically valuable information or technology that the owner has taken reasonable steps to be kept hidden from competitors. An often-cited example of this is the recipe for Coca-Cola.

As soon as an invention is the subject matter of a patent is no longer considered to be a trade secret, because patents are publicly available documents.

As a company with cutting-edge technology, sometimes claiming the invention as a trade secret rather than file for patent protection. The patents eventually expire, and to make the invention a part of the public domain, trade secret protection can continue to be (or, at least, as long as the information remains confidential.

Civil disputes relating to trade secrets, is all about.

It is very common for companies to sue competitors for alleged theft of trade secrets. In 2017, when there were more than 1,100 such civil cases filed in U.S. federal courts, according to the litigation analytics firm Lex Machina.

Now and then, for the alleged theft, you will be subject to both a civil action and a criminal prosecution.

In one case, U.S. prosecutors earlier this year, we unsealed an indictment charging unit of china’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., with conspiring to steal from a T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.(O) trade secrets. T-Mobile are brought to a civil court case years earlier, is the creation of identical assets.

A criminal trade secrets prosecution used?

Criminal cases related to trade secret theft have been less than civil, but they have increased in the past few years, the legal experts have to say.

The FBI had 67 pending investigations into the theft of trade secrets in the October of 2018, according to a US report to the government.

The seeking of criminal prosecution is often a focus on trade secrets relating to the national security, and most recently, specifically targeted at the Chinese nationals, who used to work in the United States of america. The trial will also feel pressure to perform in a high-profile domestic cases with respect to important technology and, legal experts say.

In both civil and criminal matters, often in a business or public prosecutors, claiming to be an employee of the plan, it was too late, and improperly downloaded documents with trade secret information, and later delivered them to their new company.

What are the Levandowski’s potential defenses?

To prevail, prosecutors will have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Waymo of the files in question actually contained any trade secrets. The plaintiffs are also required to demonstrate that such trade secret was improperly acquired and disclosed by the Levandowski.

Levandowski would be able to say that the Waymo’s design did not qualify as a trade secret because the company did not take reasonable steps to protect them, or because they have been widely known.

Levandowski, it would also be able to claim that he did not have the intention to steal anything.

Levandowski’s lawyers, it was a foreshadowing of the defence, in their opinion, the downloads happened, and it was then that he authorized the use of the information, and that is that none of these so-called secret files ever was at Uber or any other company.”

You can Levandowski’s face in prison, if convicted?

Yes. He faces up to 10 years, however, the defendants are usually not the maximum sentence. Levandowski, it would most likely be facing a shorter sentence if he agreed to plead guilty rather than defending themselves in a lawsuit.

Reporting john Wolfe; edited by Ginger Gibson and Bill Berkrot

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