Uber Ordered to Give Potentially Incriminating Documents to Waymo
When will the drama end? The lawsuit between Waymo and Uber is back in the news with no signs of stopping. Today the court denied yet another request from Uber to shield itself with the fifth amendemnent, securing a small victory for Waymo.
Let's recap where we are with this saga. An ex-Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, has been accused of stealing LiDAR plans among 14,000 other confidential documents from Waymo, as he left to start his own company. That company was called Otto, which Uber quickly acquired. This acquisition lead to accusations from Waymo that Uber used the stolen technology in its own self-driving projects. Both Uber and Levandowski have been in hot water ever since.
Uber has sternly denied these claims, stating that the stolen technology is not present on any of Uber's computers. Uber's lawyers even attempted to blanket Levandowski under the 5th amendment. Those attorneys are claiming requests for both Levandowski's testimony, and for private logs detailing Levandowski's and Uber's early relationship, could lead to Levandowski's self-incrimination.
The courts rejected Uber's requests, which will now require Uber to release these controversial documents to Waymo. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled:
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
According to TechCrunch, Uber might now have to release due diligence reports from Uber's acquisition of Otto. Waymo believes the due diligence reports may show Uber knew it was buying stolen tech, which of course Uber denies.
Even though this isn't great news for Uber, their day wasn't entirely awful. A court ruled in favor of Uber's request for Alphabet CEO Larry Page to perform a deposition. Uber will be allowed to ask Page one question, which reportedly surrounds an alleged conversation between Page and Levandowski. Uber claims Levandowski talked to Page about his move to Uber before the official announcement, and — according to TechCrunch — the company wants to paint the picture that Page knew Levandowski was taking the documents in question with him.
It's a small victory for a company that had a very difficult year. If Page's testimony works in Uber's favor, their luck in this legal batter may begin to change.