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Google’s Former Star Self-Driving Executive: Charged

Over two (2) years ago (May 2017) I asked the question in a blog post titled, “Is There a Different IP Protection Policy for Star Employees?”.

WHY DID I ASK THIS QUESTION?

I asked this question based on the allegations that the former head of Google’s self-driving program (SCOTT LEVANDOWSKI) had just walked away with Google’s trade secrets and went over to Uber.

At the time, I was baffled that LEVANDOWSKI had not been criminally charged and that Google was pursuing it through a “civil” legal process.

Google and Uber settled on the “civil” side in 2018, the criminal issue–in regards to LEVANDOWSKI’s alleged trade secrets theft–had not been resolved.

ARE STAR-EMPLOYEES SPECIAL?

So, I couldn’t help asking the question: “Are star-employees special?”

In other words, is anybody keeping track of the IP the star-employee is keeping track of (and prepared to hold him accountable) if he allegedly slips away with some?

Well, Google’s resounding answer to that (as of today) is: Yes, absolutely.

FORMER GOOGLE STAR EXECUTIVE CHARGED

The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI started to investigate the allegations (the same month I wrote the May 2017 post) and today charged LEVANDOWSKI with 33 counts of trade secrets theft.

9 – Page Indictment

EXIT INTERVIEW / DEBRIEFING PROCESS

A related protection reminder is the critical issue of IP owners submitting star-employees to the same vigorous exit interview / debriefing process any employee is expected to submit to. No exceptions.

SO…WHAT IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY?

Nobody is that special when it comes protecting trade secrets.

Disclaimer: IPPIBlog.com is offered as a service to the professional IP community. While every effort has been made to check information in this blog, we provide no guarantees or warranties, express or implied, with regard to content provided in IPPIBlog.com. We disclaim any and all liability and responsibility for the qualification or accuracy of representations made by the contributors or for any disputes that may arise. It is the responsibility of the readers to independently investigate and verify the credentials of such person and the accuracy and validity of the information provided by them. This blog is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP Investigations / Protection writer and licensed private investigator in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has published a number of articles on various investigative topics for PI Magazine. Ron is certified by the Interpol-International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC.) as a "Transnational and Organized Crime Intellectual Property (IP) Investigator."

1 comment on “Google’s Former Star Self-Driving Executive: Charged

  1. Tom Manley

    Good Job Ron
    Yes the Moral of the story is important.
    No One is Special
    No One is above the law
    I hope and wish that New, Politics and Law Enforcement aspire for Integrity
    Thank You
    Tom Manley

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