SAN FRANCISCO — Anthony Levandowski, a former star Google and Uber engineer who helped pioneer self-driving autos, filed for bankruptcy security on Wednesday after a court ordered him to spend $179 million to Google over a contract dispute.
The damages stemmed from an arbitration circumstance in between Google and Mr. Levandowski. The engineer had for decades worked on self-driving automobiles at Google prior to leaving to build an autonomous automobile begin-up in 2016 and then later signing up for the experience-hailing large Uber.
An arbitration panel experienced dominated in December that Mr. Levandowski and yet another colleague, Lior Ron, experienced engaged in unfair and misleading practices by secretly poaching away Google colleagues to sign up for the get started-up. On Wednesday, a San Francisco County courtroom confirmed the arbitration panel’s selection that Mr. Levandowski spend $179 million to Google.
In his filing for personal bankruptcy safety, Mr. Levandowski explained he had $50 million to $100 million in particular belongings, which would not be enough to pay back the damages to Google.
Uber declined to comment, as did Mr. Levandowski’s attorney. In a statement, Waymo, the self-driving motor vehicle enterprise that was spun out of Google, mentioned, “We will keep on to take the needed actions to be certain our confidential information is secured as we make the world’s most skilled driver.”
The considerable damages and individual bankruptcy submitting are a further ignominious chapter for just one of Silicon Valley’s onetime brightest technologists.
Mr. Levandowski experienced been paid out handsomely for his a long time of function at Google and had a near connection with Larry Web page, a founder and previous chief govt of the search large. But the connection improved when Mr. Levandowski still left Google and took some of the company’s self-driving expertise with him to observed Otto, a self-driving truck start off-up. Mr. Levandowski afterwards offered Otto to Uber for much more than $600 million.
His good fortune quickly ran out. In 2017, Waymo — the freshly christened self-driving business spun out of Google — sued Uber and Mr. Levandowski for theft of trade secrets, accusing the two of conspiring to steal several years of autonomous vehicle study to bolster Uber’s very own self-driving method. Uber and Waymo at some point settled, with Uber handing Waymo around $245 million in Uber inventory.
But it was not in excess of for Mr. Levandowski.
Past August, federal prosecutors charged him with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets and techniques from Google, a circumstance that is even now open up.
At the identical time, Google pursued its individual circumstance from Mr. Levandowski for poaching workers, ensuing in Wednesday’s ruling.
It is unclear if Mr. Levandowski will have to shell out, specified that his employment settlement with Uber said it indemnified him. In a securities submitting this week, Uber remaining the issue open up.
“While Uber and Levandowski are get-togethers to an indemnification settlement, regardless of whether Uber is finally liable for such indemnification is subject matter to a dispute concerning the enterprise and Levandowski,” Uber’s submitting mentioned.