Uber Publicizes Its Due Diligence Report On Startup Otto

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Uber on Monday publicized the so-called Stroz report, a due diligence report on startup Otto conducted by digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg in the summer of 2016, shortly before the ride-hailing giant acquired the self-driving truck company founded by its former engineer Anthony Levandowski for $680 million. The documents released at the request of Waymo as part of the firm's lawsuit against Uber suggests that former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick knew that Mr. Levandowski possessed some documentation related to the self-driving technologies developed while he was still working at Google but said he didn't want to have anything to do with them.

The technologies Alphabet's subsidiary claims were stolen from it while Mr. Levandowski was still working for the tech giant were supposedly stored on five discs which the engineer claims were destroyed at Shred Works, a commercial facility for destroying physical and digital documentation. Stroz Friedberg followed up on that claim and managed to find a receipt from Shred Works for the destruction of five disks around the time Mr. Levandowski claims he got rid of them but the signature on the bill itself appeared to be ineligible and none of the employees who were at the facility around that time recognized Uber and Google's former engineer from the photos they were shown.

Uber claims the document it previously fought to keep private due to claims it contains other trade secrets or is protected by the attorney-client privilege proves that none of Google's trade secrets ever made their way to the San Francisco, California-based firm. Waymo has a different view of the documentation, arguing that it proves Uber was aware Mr. Levandowski was in possession of some protected intellectual property and still decided to purchase his company and shield him from further litigation after he actively sought to destroy evidence of his wrongdoings. The legal protection argument has yet to be clarified by the plaintiff who purposefully didn't name Mr. Levandowski as one of the defendants in its lawsuit against Uber, though its former employee was later called to testify and refused, citing his constitutional rights against self-incrimination. Mr. Levandowski was fired by Uber in late May after repeatedly refusing to appear as a witness in the high-profile case that may shape the future of the self-driving industry in the United States.

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