(Reuters) – A former Uber Technologies chief who co-founded a British startup with the support of billionaire Jeff Bezos has been sued for allegedly stealing trade secrets from a California shipping and logistics company where he was once a board member.
Vanguard Logistics Services (USA) Inc. accused Fraser Robinson of conspiring with another former Uber boss to steal algorithms, data and other intellectual property in 2018 to create his "copycat" London-based company, Beacon Technologies Ltd.
The complaint against Mr. Robinson and Beacon were filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
It seeks what Vanguard, based in nearby Long Beach, called "significant" compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged fraudulent conduct and return of what was stolen.
A Beacon spokesman called the trial "a well-thought-out, merit-free action brought in the wrong jurisdiction. Every claim will be defended in a robust way.
Vanguard did not respond to a request for further comment.
Beacon announced on May 31
The company's supporters also include Uber founder Travis Kalanick and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Vanguard said Robinson became interested in shipping and logistics in March 2017 when Uber launched the Uber Freight truck service.
Mr. Robinson had been overseeing Uber operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the time.
Vanguard said Robinson contacted his owners, the Mansour family, in late 2017 to work as a consultant and director.
But it said this was a "charade" and that after gaining the family's trust, Robinson began stealing confidential information and working in secret with Dmitri Izmailov, the other former Uber boss, to create Beacon.
Mr. Robinson and Beacon are the only defendants in the mood.
Beacon states on its website that its mission is to become a leader in logistics and trade finance by making trade simpler, more transparent and reliable.
The case is Vanguard Logistics Services (USA) Inc. v Robinson et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 20-09880 .