We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.
If these allegations are true, Uber is in for a heap of pain, which it does not need right now in the wake of the other scandals its dealing with (i.e., sexual harassment, #deleteUber campaign).
The moral of the story:
The allegations in the complaint, believe it or not, probably happen more often than you think. As noted in the article, it was only happenstance (read: dumb luck) that Google was alerted to the alleged theft of trade secrets. This situation is why document management systems are critical to enterprise security, including video game developers. Can someone walk out with your code without any record or trace? If so, you need to rethink your document repository solution. A secure document repository (E.g., iManage is one good example) has become critical to enterprise security to track who is accessing, editing, printing, using, copying, or even exporting each and every file your company has. If you don’t have one… get one.