April 5, 2017

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The latest filings reveal that while at Google, Anthony Levandowski received a $120 million incentive but had a side job of his own.

Waymo v. Uber litigation

In case you were unaware, Uber is currently tangled up in a messy lawsuit filed by Waymo, a self-driving technology company owned by Alphabet. According to Waymo, Uber stole its intellectual property: more specifically, the company claims that Anthony Levandowski, who is now in charge of Uber’s self-driving car program, stole confidential files while he was a Google employee, ranging from design schematics to LIDAR subdirectories.

Waymo alleges that it was able to track the 14,000 files that were downloaded and stolen back to Levandowski’s laptop. Levandowski left Google back in 2016 to start his own self-driving vehicle company, which was promptly acquired by Uber. Well, the latest legal filings reveal a few more interesting facts about Levandowski.

Things started before Levandowski left Google

According to the latest information revealed by Google’s legal document, Levandowski created “competing side businesses” as early as 2012. Indeed, that was when he was still working as a Google employee. Levandowski allegedly founded a company called Odin Wave LLC back then, registered to a building he owned in Berkeley, California.

Google claims that Odin Wave was looking to place an order for a customer-fabricated part, similar to Google’s very own found inside its self-driving cars. The search giant investigated Odin Wave and questioned Levandowski, who at the time denied any connection. Odin Wave allegedly merged with Tyto Lidar LLC later, all of which became part of Otto, Levandowski’s start-up.

If Google’s claims are true, Levandowski started working on his own self-driving ambitions on the side years before he left Google and tried to recruit others from Google. He worked together with a partner who also used to work at Google, and though the name is redacted from the document, it’s believed to be Lior Ron.

The document also shows that Levandowski received multiple incentive payments from Google when he was an engineer at the company, totaling over $120 million.

It’s not clear how this lawsuit will end, but Levandowski is not the defendant here – Uber is. Levandowski remains the head of self-driving program at Uber and will remain silent on the issue. For now at least.

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