On the last day of his term as President of the United States, Donald Trump pardons Anthony Levandowski, the former engineer of Google who was accused of stealing trade secrets and intellectual property in favor of Uber.
For this crime, Anthony Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison. With this charge on his back, the engineer should have gone to prison months ago, but because of the pandemic, he had not begun to serve his sentence. Now, thanks to Trump’s pardon, he will be free of charges.
This decision has been supported by other figures in the technology industry such as Thiel or the founder of Oculus, does not cease to carry great weight in the political and technological context of the United States. This pardon would be a direct confrontation with one of the great empires of Silicon Valley formed by Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or Apple.
Why Anthony Levandowski was sentenced to prison?
Levandowski’s case was one of the most tense moments in business relations on the West Coast of the United States. Since 2017, Google and Uber had a war declared on the alleged theft of patents. When Levandowski left Uber, he set up Otto -an autonomous truck company-, a few months later this was bought by Uber. Two months later, Google started the battle for data theft. The trial, which lasted until the end of 2018, sought a payment of $1 billion in damages to Google.
Finally, three days after the trial, the parties reached a settlement: Uber would give an equity stake to Google in the amount of 245 million. And while the technologies were being reconciled, the process was still open to the engineer. He was sentenced to prison and to pay 179 million dollars to Google for the appropriation of confidential information.
Levandowski is not the only one pardoned by Donald Trump
President Donald Trump has tried to push the limits of his power to overturn some criminal sentences through mass pardons. Specifically, Trump ordered 72 people to be pardoned and the sentences of 72 others to be commuted.
But Levandowski’s case has not been the most striking on the list of those acquitted. The prize has been taken by Steve Bannon, the main person responsible for the media campaign that gave the victory to Donald Trump. Shortly after arriving at the White House, Trump expelled him from his circle for accusations of embezzlement. He was currently awaiting trial, now annulled thanks to the pardon.