Uber Threatens To Fire Former Waymo Engineer At Heart Of Lawsuit


It appears to be put up or shut up time for the Uber engineer accused of stealing intellectual property from Waymo.

Uber General Counsel Salle Yoo told Anthony Levandowski in a letter Monday that he must deny taking files from Waymo while he worked there, or risk losing his job, Bloomberg reports.

Although Levandowski’s not named as a defendant in the intellectual property lawsuit against Uber, Waymo claims he downloaded 14,000 files, which he used to start his own self-driving startup, Otto. He so far is refusing to testify, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The letter to Levandowski reportedly is largely in response to United States District Judge William Alsup’s May 11 order that demanded Uber convince him to testify.

However, Miles Ehrlich, Levandowski’s attorney, argues the order should be amended, as it forces his client to choose between employment or his Constitutional rights.

“Anything short of firing Mr. Levandowski to get him to waive his Fifth Amendment rights and attorney-client privileges would put Uber at risk of contempt, since it would fail to measure up to the court’s command that Uber exercise every lawful power it has over Mr. Levandowski,” Ehrlich wrote in a court filing, according to Bloomberg.

In the letter to Levandowski, Yoo reportedly reaffirmed Uber’s stance that it hasn’t used Waymo’s trade secrets in its autonomous driving program.

Thumbnail photo via Flickr/HAZMA BUTT

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