The blockbuster legal battle between Uber and Google’s self-driving spinoff company, Waymo, hinges on two questions. One: Did former Google engineer and self–driving car whiz Anthony Levandowski swipe documents containing valuable Google intellectual property and bring them to his own startup, which would be acquired by Uber just months later for a reported $680 million? And two: Did Uber executives, including now-ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, conspire with Levandowski to do it, then use that intellectual property to advance their own technology?
Now a hotly contested due diligence report, commissioned by Uber, makes it clear that the ride-hailing company knew Levandowski had ill-gotten Google files before it bought his startup and put him in charge of its own self-driving efforts. Question one seems to have its answer, and question two just got a lot more interesting.
The firm Stroz Friedberg prepared the report, which Uber used to prep for its 2016 acquisition of Otto, Levandowski’s company focused on self–driving truck technology. Waymo's attorneys filed the report as an exhibit in the case on Monday night, making it public.