In the ongoing trade-secrets litigation between Waymo and Uber over the alleged theft of self-driving car technology, a federal court rejected Uber’s claim that the attorney–client privilege and/or common–interest doctrine protected an investigator’s due diligence report. I discussed the Uber–Ottomotto acquisition backstory and the court’s privilege ruling in a prior post: Uber Loses Crucial Privilege Battle in Driverless Car Trade-Secrets Case.
In this piece, I discuss common–interest doctrine in more detail and explain court’s additional ruling that the work-product doctrine did not protect the due diligence report from disclosure to Waymo. Waymo LLC v. Uber Techs., Inc., 2017 WL 2694191 (N.D. Cal. June 21, 2017). You may read the magistrate judge’s opinion here, and the district court’s affirming order here.
Disclosure to Adversary Equals Waiver
Recall that Uber and Otto entered into a Term Sheet that described a process through which Uber may acquire Otto, and that the Term Sheet required Uber and Otto to jointly retain an investigation firm (Stroz Friedberg) to conduct due diligence into potential trade-secrets misappropriation. You may read Stroz’s engagement letter here.