A judge just banned Uber's former head of self-driving cars from Lidar-related work

A federal judge has ordered Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer at the heart of a legal dispute with Uber, from working on any Lidar-related work.

Judge William Alsup’s order makes official a move Uber had already made, in which the company demoted him from head of its self-driving car project and banned him from working on Lidar.

Here’s how the judge summarized the case so far:

“By way of summary, this order finds plaintiff Waymo LLC has shown compelling evidence that its former star engineer, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 confidential files from Waymo immediately before leaving his employment there. The evidence shows that, both before and after his departure, Levandowski and defendant Uber Technologies, Inc., planned for Uber to acquire Levandowski’s new companies, defendants Ottomotto LLC and Otto Trucking LLC, and to hire Levandowski as the head of its self-driving car efforts. Moreover, defendants and Levandowski anticipated and took steps to defend against litigation with Waymo in connection with his move to Uber. Significantly, the evidence indicates that, during the acquisition, Uber likely knew or at least should have known that Levandowski had taken and retained possession of Waymo’s confidential files. Waymo has also sufficiently shown, for purposes of the instant motion only, that the 14,000-plus purloined files likely contain at least some trade secrets, and that some provisional relief is warranted while this case progresses toward trial. The scope of relief warranted at this stage, however, is limited by several countervailing factors.”

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