The legal battle between Uber and Waymo continues apace. In what can be seen as a serious setback to both Uber and Anthony Levandowski, an appeals court has ruled that the latter’s invoking the fifth amendment does not extend to Uber withholding information pertaining to its Otto acquisition.
The court has now directed Uber to provide data associated with its Otto acquisition to Waymo.
In case you have been unaware of the developments, here is a quick refresher: Anthony Levandowski was formerly an employee at Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo. However, he later left the company and started off his own venture, Otto. The self-driving truck startup was later acquired by Uber and that is when the trouble began. Waymo now claims that Uber acquired Otto for the purpose of gaining access to Waymo’s LiDAR technologies which were, allegedly stolen by Levandowski when he left the company. The Google subsidiary has filed a lawsuit against Uber and the case continues.
Following the case, Levandowski invoked the fifth amendment, so as to prevent any other information which could implicate him from coming to the surface. Meanwhile, Waymo has been claiming that Levandowski and Uber signed an agreement with each other just a few days after the former quit his job at Google. The company has also asked Uber to provide it with a log containing details of the cab aggregator’s legal involvement with Levandowski.
Levandowski has been opposing the motion, stating that it would violate his fifth amendment. However, a new court ruling has quashed these hopes.
In its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said:
Mr. Levandowski argues that he is entitled to relief under the Fifth Amendment because production of the unredacted privilege log could potentially incriminate him. We are not persuaded that the district court erred in its ruling requiring defendants to produce an unredacted privilege log.
With this ruling, Waymo can technically also request Uber for a copy of the due diligence report. The two companies are slated to face-off against each other again on the 3rd of May. The court will then take a decision upon whether it wants to prevent Levandowski from working upon Uber’s self-driving development efforts.
Meanwhile, things appear to be getting even more difficult for Uber and Levandowski. Uber has been claiming that it has nothing to do with Waymo’s LiDAR technology however, it is having a hard time proving it in the courts. Should the diligence report and details of the legal dealings between Uber and Levandowski come to the surface, the cab aggregator’s difficulties could well get compounded.