Thursday, August 10, 2017

Uber Risk, Uber Accusations, Uber Conflict?

Here's a real rough and tumble one: "Uber’s Lawyers Should Be Booted After Aiding Coverup, Waymo Says" --
  • "Waymo claims Uber Technologies Inc. had an accomplice in the theft of invaluable driverless technology trade secrets — the ride-hailing giant’s own lawyers. Uber relied heavily on attorneys at San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster LLP, or MoFo, to suss out and contain any proprietary information that may have been taken by one of Waymo’s lead engineers, Anthony Levandowski, when he abruptly quit last year. He later joined Uber, bringing with him other former engineers from the Alphabet Inc.unit’s self-driving unit... Waymo has alleged that the MoFo lawyers helped cover up the theft and said it wants to call them as witnesses."
  • "Waymo claims the law firm trafficked in stolen files –- or at least descriptions of stolen files -– when its lawyers helped structure the Ottomotto acquisition. That’s why MoFo’s lawyers should be required to testify and the firm as a whole should be disqualified from defending Uber, Waymo argues."
  • "Waymo has also accused Stroz and MoFo of violating court orders to turn over proprietary information, including files from the law firm’s representation of Levandowski in arbitration proceedings brought by Google last year. A hearing on those claims is scheduled for Aug. 16."
  • "Arturo Gonzalez, a MoFo partner representing Uber, said Waymo is trying to knock his firm off the case out of desperation. 'Having found no evidence to support their claims, they ask themselves ‘What do we do?'' he said. 'And someone raises their hand and says, ‘I know, let’s try to disqualify their lawyer.''"
A day later: "Alsup Says DQ’ing MoFo Not Necessary In Uber-Waymo Row" --
  • "U.S. District Judge William Alsup said Wednesday that he opposed disqualifying Morrison & Foerster LLP from representing Uber Technologies Inc. in its trade secret fight with Alphabet unit Waymo, even though the law firm is “a character in the story” jurors will hear at the October trial."
  • "Morrison & Foerster provided legal advice to Uber as it was acquiring OttoMotto LLC, a company founded by former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski. Waymo’s suit alleges that the day before Levandowski joined Uber, he illegally downloaded 14,000 Waymo documents, with the intention of bringing them to his new employer. Uber’s acquisition involved a lengthy due diligence and indemnity process during which Morrison & Foerster, as well as risk management firm Stroz Friedberg LLC, vetted Levandowski. Uber insists it implemented protocols that allowed it to stay ignorant of what firms learned."
  • "'The transaction is part of the trial, part of the story to be told to the jury. You can’t tell that story without MoFo being identified as such,' Judge Alsup said. 'It’s name is going to come up again and again. And I have a strong feeling that Uber is being cute here, because you’re going to show the jury that Uber took steps to immunize itself from the stolen intellectual property and set up this elaborate structure to protect yourself. ... So my thought is not disqualifying anyone, but having no holds barred when it comes to putting out the facts of the case.'"

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