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Uber v. Google lawsuit has new drama

If you have not heard, Uber and Google are currently waging a massive legal battle against each other over the alleged theft of company secrets. The story goes like this: Anthony Levandowski was a big engineer at Google, working on a self-driving car project under Google's parent company's self-driving business, Waymo. But he left the company to start his own self-driving company, which was eventually snapped up by Uber for roughly $700 million.

What Google alleges is that Levandowski, after leaving the company, took trade secrets from them which helped him make his new company -- and which ultimately benefited Uber once they bought Levandowski's company.

This is the scene against which a new plot development has come about: Levandowski has been fired by Uber after he failed to comply with an internal investigation that set a date for when he had to turn over critical information. The firing ratchets up an already massive lawsuit that pits two tech giants against each other -- and could actually shape the self-driving car industry as a whole in the future.

What is lost in the drama of this story is the serious allegation of trade secrets that may have been stolen or misappropriated. This is a big deal, and any company that is victimized by an employee that leaves the company with critical information or is victimized by a competitor that gets a hold of a trade secret needs to consider their legal standing.

Source: New York Times, "Uber Fires Former Google Engineer at Heart of Self-Driving Dispute," Mike Isaac and Daisuke Wakabayashi, May 30, 2017

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