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A Judge Rules Against an Uber Exec in the Ride-Share Giant’s Legal Spat With Alphabet

For Uber, the legal setbacks just keep piling up.
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(Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

On Monday, a federal judge in Alphabet’s trade secrets lawsuit against Uber rejected a Fifth Amendment plea, ordering that basic details of an August 2016 due diligence report be included in court documents, ReCode reports. Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, is accusing Uber of stealing files that detail designs for self-driving technology. Uber denies any wrongdoing.

Alphabet alleges that Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 files from its self-driving car wing before he left in January of 2016 to start the autonomous trucking company Otto, which was purchased by Uber in August for $680 million. Uber and Waymo have been furiously racing against each other—and other carmakers—to launch the first market-ready self-driving vehicle technology.

A third party reportedly created the due diligence report when Uber purchased Otto; these reports are standard procedure for an acquisition, and would likely include potential legal issues that could arise from the purchase. Levandowski’s lawyers — not Uber — had attempted to use a broad application of the Fifth Amendment in part to block the report from being included in court, according to the New York Times. However, other than the basic details, the substance of the report will be redacted, for now. “There will be time enough to argue soon over whether the due diligence report itself must be produced,” ReCode reports the judge’s order said. “But for now that report must be put on a privilege log in the conventional way — without any of the redactions requested by counsel for Levandowski.”

On May 3rd, according to Axios, the court will hear arguments from both sides regarding Waymo’s request for a court injunction to halt Uber’s work on self-driving vehicles while the lawsuit is ongoing.