Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Did Uber Steal Google's Intellectual Property? -- The New Yorker

Final paragraphs from an approximately 9.7K-word profile:
"Levandowski is upset that some people have cast him as the bad guy. “I reject the notion that I did something unethical,” he said. “Was I trying to compete with them? Sure.” But, he added, “I’m not a thief, and I’m not dishonest.” Other parents sometimes shun him when he drops his kids off at school, and he has grown tired of people taking photographs of him when he walks through airports. But he is confident that his notoriety will subside. Although he no longer owns the technology that he brought to Google and Uber, plenty of valuable information remains inside his head, and he has a lot of new ideas. An investment fund recently started due diligence on one of his proposals: a new self-driving-truck company. He anticipates that some of the funding for it will come from overseas, including from Chinese investors. It is ironic, given that federal trade-secret laws were written to prevent intellectual property from travelling abroad, that a trade-secret prosecution may push Levandowski into foreign hands. But he’s fine with it; what he cares about is having a next act. There are work-arounds, it seems, for everything, even for an unsavory past.

“The only thing that matters is the future,” he told me after the civil trial was settled. “I don’t even know why we study history. It’s entertaining, I guess—the dinosaurs and the Neanderthals and the Industrial Revolution, and stuff like that. But what already happened doesn’t really matter. You don’t need to know that history to build on what they made. In technology, all that matters is tomorrow.”"
Did Uber Steal Google's Intellectual Property? -- The New Yorker

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