Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, on Wednesday charged with stealing trade secrets when he appeared in a San Jose court in Silicon Valley.
Levandowski, a 39-year-old engineer who once worked at Google as an expert on self-driving technologies, was charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California on 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson, said Levandowski downloaded about 14,000 Google files to his Google computer.
“The indictment alleges that each of these trade secrets was reasonably protected by Google had economic value and was not generally known,“ he said.
According to the indictment, Levandowski quit his job at Google in 2016 and joined U.S. ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies, Inc. shortly afterward.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said if convicted, Levandowski could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years and fined 250,000 U.S. dollars, plus restitution, for each violation.
However, Levandowski’s lawyers said that the ex-Google engineer had been an industry-leading innovator in self-driving technologies for more than 10 years.
They asserted that Levandowski had continued to lead the development of new and innovative safe-driving technologies to advance this ground-breaking industry.
The lawyers said that Levandowski was innocent, and would look forward to proving it at trial.