The files concerned Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) tech, which help self-driving cars perceive the world around them. Levandowski brought those files with him to own startup, called Ottomotto, which was acquired by Uber for $680 million.
Google sued Uber over the matter and the companies settled for $245 million of Uber stock in 2018. Uber, for its part, said it did have Google docs, and offered the rather odd observation that while it didn’t think Google’s thinking had informed its own work, it was going to work really hard to make sure that was the case from then on.
Meanwhile, the US Attorney’s office took action against Levandowski, filing 33 charges alleging theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832.
Levandowski pled guilty to the last of those 33 charges, but that plea doesn't concern the 14,000 documents but instead a single weekly project tracking file called "Among the files downloaded between October 2015 and January 2016, was an internal tracking document entitled 'Chauffeur TL weekly updates – Q4 2015'."
As explained by the US Attorney's Office in its statement about the case, the file in question is called "contained a variety of details regarding the status of Google’s self-driving car program." But the document did not have technical content - and plenty of others others in the indictment list have names like "Presentation re LiDA Engineering issue" or "Laser Pulse Driver Design".
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