The due diligence report at center of Waymo-Uber case


A due diligence report prepared by a forensics company as part of Uber's acquisition last year of a startup founded by former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski has been publicly released. The report's contents confirm much of what Waymo, which is suing Uber for allegedly stealing its trade secrets, has suspected about Levandowski.

Why it matters: Levandowski fought to keep the report from turning up in the lawsuit, even appealing the court's decision to allow it to be released. Waymo believed it contained incriminating evidence and pushed to get access to it.

Key findings

  • Levandowski had company files on his personal devices, and destroyed some as well.
  • He worked to recruit Waymo employees for his new company.
  • He met with Uber executives while still working at Waymo.

From Waymo

"The Stroz Report unequivocally shows that, before it acquired his company, Uber knew Anthony Levandowski had a massive trove of confidential Waymo source code, design files, technical plans and other materials after leaving Google; that he stole information deliberately, and repeatedly accessed it after leaving Waymo; and that he tried to destroy the evidence of what he had done. In addition, Mr. Levandowski used his smartphone to take thousands of covert photographs of computer screens displaying Google confidential files. Knowing all of this, Uber paid $680 million for Mr. Levandowski's company, protected him from legal action, and installed him as the head of their self-driving vehicle program. This report raises significant questions and justifies careful review."

  • The company is also asking for the trial — initially set to begin next week — to be pushed back as it won't have enough time to properly analyze the newly released evidence.

From Uber

"Before Uber acquired Otto, we hired an independent forensics firm to conduct due diligence because we wanted to prevent any Google IP from coming to Uber. Their report, which we are pleased is finally public, helps explain why—even after 60 hours of inspection of our facilities, source code, documents and computers—no Google material has been found at Uber. Waymo is now attempting to distract from that hard fact, even attempting to hide its core trade secrets case from the public and the press by closing the courtroom. In the end, the jury will see that Google's trade secrets are not and never were at Uber."

Full report

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Uber's statement has been updated to address Waymo's recent move to keep some court proceedings confidential.