Uber is fighting to keep its pre-acquisition review of Otto a secret, according to a recent court filing related to the company's upcoming legal battle with Google's Waymo that accused Uber and Otto of stealing its trade secrets. Prior to Uber's $680 million acquisition of Otto that was completed last year, an unknown third party was hired to conduct a "due diligence review" of the company that was founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former employee of Waymo that allegedly downloaded thousands of confidential files from Google's self-driving subsidiary. The aforementioned document filed earlier today reveals that Lewandowski's legal team is now trying to keep the details of the review secret, as U.S. District Judge William Alsup was asked to change one previous discovery in an effort to protect Levandowski's Fifth Amendment rights that he previously invoked.
The document that can be read in its entirety by following the source link below was acquired by Ars Technica and reveals that Lewandowski's legal team claims his Fifth Amendment rights would be violated if he was forced to disclose the details of the review, specifically the name of the party that conducted it and the actual documents that were reviewed. Google will reply to the motion by tomorrow when a separate hearing on the request is also scheduled to take place.
The lawsuit Waymo filed against Uber alleges that Lewandowski stole LiDAR designs and other trade secrets from the Google's subsidiary on behalf of the San Francisco-based tech giant. Google's lawyers argue that Uber's existing self-driving fleet wouldn't even be operational if it wasn't using technology developed by Waymo, adding that Uber was years behind in the autonomous driving race until recently. While Lewandowski previously admitted to downloading some files from his former company, he recently told Bloomberg those documents were only taken for the purposes of him being able to work from home, adding that Uber isn't using the same LiDAR setup that was developed by Waymo, formerly known as Google's Self-Driving Car Project. As the case is slowly moving to trial that might take years to be concluded, an update on the situation is expected to follow in the coming weeks.