At the center of Alphabet Inc.’s battle with Uber Technologies Inc. over alleged stolen technology is a due diligence report prepared ahead of Uber’s acquisition of a company called Otto. This report, which Alphabet claims may prove the ride-hailing giant knowingly acquired stolen intellectual property, was seen by a number of Uber’s in-house attorneys, according to a recently filed document in the case.

The situation at Uber underscores the role of in-house counsel in the due diligence process. Attorneys who have not worked with Uber said a due diligence report can be critical in a merger or acquisition and one of the key roles for in-house counsel throughout the process is to be mindful of protecting privilege.

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