Waymo published an important document late Monday in its legal battle with Uber over whether a former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, took self-driving car secrets when he left Waymo to form his own startup.
The document, called the “Stroz Report,” is a due diligence report that Uber commissioned before it purchased Levandowski’s startup, Otto, in 2016.
It was written by cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg and it includes details about Levandowski’s personal computers and the data on them, deleted text messages, and a rough timeline of how Levandowski and his partners formed a new startup and sold it for a reported sum of $680 million in under a year.
Uber had fought to keep the report sealed in its long-running battle with Waymo. Alphabet’s lawyers say it shows that Uber knew that Levandowski had taken secrets from Google’s self-driving car spinoff, Waymo, when he joined Uber.
Waymo wants to delay the Uber-Waymo trial, scheduled to start this month, as it looks through this report and other recent files Uber recently produced.
Here are some key details:
- Levandowski once pitched Google employees on Otto’s business during a ski trip to Lake Tahoe. Google self-driving car materials, including whiteboard sketches and pictures of equipment, were found on Levandowski’s iPhone. The cybersecurity firm even physically went to a data destroyal company – “Shred Works” – to verify whether Levandowski had five disks shredded as he had said. Nobody at the company recognized Levandowski but they found a potentially relevant receipt. One text exchange between former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Levandowski shows the budding relationship between the two entrepreneurs. In March 2016, Levandowski iMessaged Kalanick: “I think I have a way to have both ATC and Bay Area peeps work on separate missions: We focus on lasers and early roll out and he focuses on high quality/mass roll out. We did this for streetview (ask bam), maps and early chauffeur and it worked super well. I’ll ping Jeff and run it by him.” Kalanick replied to Levandowski: “Interesting, it will be good to see how that model fits after we open kimono on fri”.