According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, recently departed Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was aware that an engineer he hired from Google had allegedly stolen files from that company, and told the new employee not to bring the files to his new job. Those files are pertinent to an ongoing patent lawsuit over autonomous technology between Uber and Google's former autonomous car unit now known as Waymo.

And it's not Google that is making the assertion about what Kalanick knew about these files. Instead, it's Uber's own attorneys, who made the revelation in documents filed in court. The admission is intended to blunt Waymo's claim that Uber asked the engineer, Anthony Levandowski, to bring the files to Uber, the WSJ reports. Instead, Uber claims that Kalanick asked Levandowski to destroy the files.

Levandowski has stepped aside from Uber during the course of the suit, which alleges that Uber stole some Lidar technology from Waymo. The proprietary information was contained within 14,000 confidential documents that Levandowski allegedly stole. Uber is fighting the claims that it actually utilized the technology, but the admission revealed by the WSJ seems to acknowledge the existence of the stolen files while claiming that they were destroyed before they could be used – a rather dramatic twist to an already fascinating struggle between the two companies.

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