“Well, that was not in the script.

On May 11, 2017, what had been a high-value, high-profile, but otherwise fairly routine civil trade secrets lawsuit between Uber Technologies Inc. and Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo LLC took a more dramatic turn, when presiding U.S. District Judge William Alsup referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal investigation of Uber and its key executive Anthony Levandowski. Waymo had presented evidence regarding Levandowski’s copying of trade secrets regarding self-driving car technology from Waymo (his former employer) and transfer of that technology to Uber, and Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment to oppose production of certain related evidence. In response, Judge Alsup determined that there was reason to believe that both Levandowski and Uber itself may have violated not only civil, but also criminal laws protecting trade secrets. Both now face the prospect of indictment, fines, debarment from federal contract work, and, in Levandowski’s case, prison. Despite the pending criminal investigation, the case continues to speed toward an October trial date. Judge Alsup has refused to stay the case while Uber appeals the denial of its motion to compel arbitration and he recently set an aggressive deposition schedule, including setting Levandowski’s deposition for Aug. 10, 2017. ”

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