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Uber’s Anthony Levandowski invokes Fifth Amendment rights in Waymo suit

Uber executive and Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski is asserting his Fifth Amendment rights in regard to a suit being submitted by Waymo against Uber, which accuses the company and Levandowski of stealing technology related to autonomous vehicles from the Google self-driving car project prior to his deviation. A lawyer for Levandowski told the court that the engineer would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights broadly because there exists potential for criminal action which could lead to self-incrimination, as reported by The New York Times.

In court transcripts from a Thursday hearing reviewed by TechCrunch, Levandowskis lawyer invokes the amendment in what appears to be a precaution related to a document release by Uber. Ubers lawyers claim that the company doesnt have the documents Levandowski allegedly stole from Waymo and therefore wont be handing them over tomorrow as part of a scheduled document production.

Were broadly asserting Mr. Levandowskis Fifth Amendment rights as to any documents he may possess and control that are of relevance to this action, a lawyer for Levandowski told the court.Levandowskis assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilegecould change, however, as the example moves forward.

Levandowskis acknowledgement of his potential criminal liability is anotherinteresting turn in what has been a dramatic tribunal proceeding thus far between the two companies. Waymo claims that Levandowski stole thousands of confidential documentsfrom the company( when it was still Googles self-driving auto project, during which hour Levandowski was utilized there ), and then took steps to cover up the theft.

So far, Uber has focused its defense on questioningwhy Waymo has not handled this apparent violation of Levandowskisemployment agreement via arbitration, which is the means it contractually requires for dealing with conflicts with employees. It was uncovered earlier this week that Waymo did indeed pursue arbitration against Levandowski in October, prior to filing suit against his employer this February. That action focused on accusations of employee poaching, however, and left out the claims of proprietary information stealing, which Uber tells should also be subject to arbitration.

Although Uber has worked to distance itself from Levandowski, Judge William Alsup indicated during the course of its hearing that he was inclined to stop Uber from employing any technology copied from Google as the example progresses.

Some of the things in your motion are bogus. Youve got things in there like lists of suppliers as trade secret. Come on. It undermines the whole thing, he told Waymo, according to the transcript. However, Judge Alsup also cautioned Uber about the gravity of Waymos allegations. There are some things in that motion that are very serious. They are genuine trade secret. And if you dont come in with a refusal, youre likely looking at a preliminary injunction, he told Uber.

If his truck driving company gets shut down because of stealing of trade secret on a record that hes not willing to deny, too bad for him. Too bad. Listen, Im not sympathetic to it. You represent somebody whos in a mess, Alsup told Levandowskis attorney.

Judge Alsuphad previouslycriticized Uber for constructing heavy redactions of documents it submitted to the court relevant to the case.( Uber afterward claimed that Waymo had asked for the redactions .)

Uber Associate General Counsel Angela Padilla the following statement regarding the example, when we contacted the company for answer 😛 TAGEND

We look forward to our first public answer laying out our example onFriday, April 7. We are very confident that Waymos claims against Uber are baseless and that Anthony Levandowski has not utilized any files from Google in his work with Otto or Uber .

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