Anthony Levandowski, the former Google executive at the center of Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber, will not be allowed to take the fifth amendment, according to an order from the US Court of Appeals issued Tuesday.
That means Levandowski will likely be compelled to provide the approximately 14,000 documents Waymo alleges Levandowski took from Google before Levandowski left the company, according to the court. Waymo’s lawsuit claims Levandowski used those documents to build self-driving technology at his new job at Uber.
In March, Levandowski’s lawyers said he wanted to plead the fifth amendment so he would not incriminate himself in the case.
The documents have been at the center of Waymo’s case against Uber. Uber has argued that none of the files are stored on Uber-owned computers and therefore cannot be submitted to the court during the discovery process.
Why this matters
Waymo is the company that spun out of Google’s self-driving car project. One of its goals is to start a ride-hailing service with a fleet of self-driving. However, Waymo’s lawsuit claims Levandowski used the documents he took to develop custom lidar for Uber’s self-driving cars. Uber denies Waymo’s allegations, saying its lidar is significantly different than Waymo’s lidar.
Waymo began testing its self-driving car service in Phoenix, Arizona this week. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has said the future of the company hinges on its ability to deploy self-driving cars and that it could lose everything if another company like Waymo beats Uber to market.