In August 2019, Levandowski was indicted by DoJ on 33 counts of stealing documents containing self-driving trade secrets and intellectual property from Waymo and then taking them over to its rival Uber.
A few months later, in a bid to wind down the lengthy, costly case, the engineer reached an agreement with prosecutors and pled guilty to one charge as the others were dropped.
Uber acquired start-up Levandowski founded after leaving Waymo
When Levandowski left Waymo, after allegedly stealing 14,000 files containing trade secrets, technical specifications, and LiDAR design, he started his own self-driving truck start-up Otto. This business was purchased by Uber for its own now-shuttered self-driving project, stirring up the issue of IP theft.
Important lesson for Silicon Valley, prosecutors said
In light of the plea, the federal lawyers have suggested the court that a 27-month prison term should be fair for Levandowski.
"Given the egregiousness of the conduct in this case and the need to deter similar conduct in the future, the government respectfully recommends a mid-range guidelines sentence," the prosecutors said, adding that it is an important lesson for Silicon Valley.