Levandowski left Google in 2016 to form Otto, an autonomous trucking company. In August of that year, Uber acquired Otto for $700 million. (Uber ultimately paid much less than that because Otto employees either left or were terminated before their stock options were allowed to vest.) Six months later, Google sued Uber, alleging that the ride share company conspired with Levandowski to steal trade secrets from Google’s autonomous driving unit, called Waymo. Uber settled in February 2018, five days into a blockbuster trial, agreeing to pay more than $244 million to Google.
But Google had also brought a case against Levandowski in arbitration, and in December, a panel awarded Google with the vast sum. That award was subject to court review and was finalized in California state court Wednesday.
As part of his employment with Uber, the ride hailing service had agreed to pay Levandowski’s legal fees, including any judgments against him. But Uber said in an SEC filing Monday that responsibility for the fees is “subject to a dispute between the two parties.”
Uber declined to comment Wednesday. Levandowski didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last August, federal prosecutors with the Northern District of California indicted Levandowski, alleging he stole or attempted to steal confidential files form Waymo. The 33-charge indictment could land Levandowski in prison for up to 10 years. He has denied the charges.
During the civil case between Uber and Google, Levandowski exercised his fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination when he refused to turn over documents in the case. The judge in the case then later recommended that federal prosecutors open a criminal investigation.
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