Uber will most likely have to handover its due diligence document. However, it isn’t clear whether it will hand over the complete document or only portions of it. It still has a card to play.
In what could potentially lead to a significant development, a magistrate has ruled that Uber Technologies Inc will necessarily have to hand over a key document that may shed some light on what its executives knew about the alleged theft of trade secrets from Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving car unit.
In its lawsuit, Waymo has claimed that Uber’s former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, had illegally downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving the company to set up his own self-driving truck company which was later acquired by Uber.
The key document is a due diligence report prepared by Uber on Levandowski’s startup before it acquired the company in 2016.
Waymo has been seeking a copy of the due diligence report as part of its preparation for the trial, however Uber has refused to hand it over citing attorney-client privilege.
The dispute was reviewed by a magistrate judge, who issued a ruling under seal earlier this week, meaning the outcome was known only to Uber and Waymo.
The U.S. federal judge overseeing the case, made a reference to the ruling in court which made it lucidly clear that he was siding with Waymo.
“Are you appealing the ruling against you on the due diligence report?” asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to Uber’s lawyers, to which Karen Dunn, Uber’s attorney replied Uber will decide its next steps by tomorrow.
If Uber’s appeal is rejected, the due diligence report will be handed over to Waymo lawyers. What is unclear however, is whether the entire report will be handed over or only portions of it.
Although Levandowski is not a defendant in the case, the entire lawsuit revolves around his actions and what Uber executives knew about them.
Uber has denied it used any of Waymo’s trade secrets. It has fired Levandowski.
A trial is scheduled for October.
Spokespersons for Waymo and Uber declined to comment.