Uber recently revealed former CEO Travis Kalanick’s statement in the Uber vs. Waymo self-driving car technology case over the weekend. Kalanick, who was deposed for more than six hours last month, beamed about the time he learned Anthony Levandowski, formerly a Google employee, downloaded documents without authorization related to self-driving technology.
“The deposition yet again confirms that Uber was focused on building its technology from the ground up. Uber never wanted any Google material, and took steps to prevent any such material from ever coming to Uber,” an Uber representative told TechCrunch.
Waymo’s suit claims Uber knew about these documents when Uber obtained Levandowski’s self-driving trucking start-up Otto. In Kalanick’s deposition, he says “he did not have any knowledge of the documents until shortly Waymo first filed the complaint in February.”
“I was pretty serious with him about making sure that these files had not and will not make it to Uber,” Kalanick said in his deposition. He went on to say, “And I wanted to make it absolutely clear that no files of any kind from anybody’s previous employer make it to Uber.”
While Levandowski was still employed at Uber, Kalanick at one point directly asked him if any of the files made it to Uber, to which Levandowski denied.
In his deposition, Kalanick said Levandowski was anticipating a bonus at Google and downloaded the documents to make sure he received that bonus. The deposition, which is nearly 200 pages long, also notes whether or not Kalanick thought what Levandowski did was “improper.” Kalanick said yes, to which he was then asked why he didn’t let Levandowski go at that point.
“I was really hopeful that he would cooperate and tell the Court the facts of the matter, cooperate with our investigation,” he said. “And that was part of what this discussion was about, was just make the declaration, testify. And it may be that I was holding onto that possibility, trying to — trying to get him to cooperate with the Court, with our investigation internally. And you know, it was F’ing stupid. It was — it — it — yeah. It it just felt like if he could — if he could just say what he did and why, and that — if you just cooperate, that would be great.”
Levandowski, for his part, has not cooperated. Very early in the case, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The dispute is now a matter of federal court.