Uber’s Directors Saw Alleged Evidence Of Trade Secret Theft

June 24, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Uber’s current board members Arianna Huffington and Bill Gurley and ex-director David Bonderman saw a due diligence report that Waymo claims is undeniable proof that the San Francisco, California-based tech giant colluded with its former self-driving head Anthony Levandowski to steal more than 14,000 sensitive documents from Alphabet’s subsidiary and hence committed trade secret theft. Uber acknowledged that the aforementioned members of its Board of Directors saw the documentation about the company’s acquisition of Otto at some point in the past, as evidenced by the firm’s official response to a preliminary injunction ordered against it in May. Uber’s statement seen by Android Headlines was filed on Friday with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, and is the 715th document submitted in one of the most high-profile legal battles that were ever led in the Silicon Valley.

The controversial report that Waymo is trying to acquire was prepared by cyber security firm Stroz Friedberg prior to Uber’s $680 million acquisition of Levandowski’s self-driving startup Otto in August 2016. The ride-hailing giant is arguing that the report it commissioned cannot be made public because it contains confidential communications between attorneys and their clients. Employees of Stroz Friedberg are now among those named as having seen or heard about any of the documents related to proprietary LiDAR designs that Levandowski is said to have stolen from Waymo before leaving the Mountain View, California-based tech giant in January 2016 to found Otto. Uber’s filing explicitly states that it’s providing the court with the names of all people associated with it that may have been in contact with stolen documentation in the interest of full disclosure, noting that its latest statement isn’t to be taken as an admission of guilt or confirmation of any one of Waymo’s allegations.

More than 160 of Uber’s employees had contact with Levandowski regarding LiDAR designs, and others may have seen, heard about, or even downloaded the stolen documentation without realizing its significance, the company said. The dispute between Waymo and Uber already led to Levandowski being demoted and consequently fired by the firm and has also contributed to the tech giant’s current crisis that recently prompted Travis Kalanick to resign his position of Chief Executive Officer following significant pressure from major investors.