California
31 May 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Uber fires Levandowski


Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, Otto founder, ex-Waymo employee and the man at the centre of the trade secret dispute between Alphabet and Uber.

In its letter of termination, Uber said Levandowksi had “not complied” with requests for full cooperation in the ongoing litigation.

An earlier letter had expressly stated that failure to comply with these requests would result in “adverse employment action, including the possible termination of your employment at Uber”.

Uber also voiced its own suspicions that Levandowski had broken its employment agreement, which warrants employees to return or destroy all property and confidential information belonging to prior employers.

The trade secret dispute between the two companies reached a head earlier this month when Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California recommended the case for criminal investigation.

Judge Alsup said the strength of evidence against Levandowksi was the strongest he’d seen in 42 years.

Waymo accused Levandowksi of stealing more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to start his own company, Otto.

Otto was then acquired by Uber, which appointed Levandowski as its head of self-driving technology.

Levandowksi invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions about the case.

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