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An Uber executive lost his bid to keep the company from producing a key document in Alphabet’s lawsuit

Anthony Levandowski argued that a document could serve to incriminate him, thus infringing on his Fifth Amendment rights.

An Uber self-driving model car is shown parked by a tree-lined sidewalk. Uber

Anthony Levandowski, the head of Uber’s self-driving efforts, lost a bid to keep the ride-hail company from producing a key document by invoking the Fifth Amendment in a patent-infringement lawsuit Alphabet filed against the ride-hail company.

Levandowski, who is not named in the Google parent company’s lawsuit against Uber, claimed that producing a due diligence report — a document prepared for Uber that detailed information about Otto — could serve to incriminate him and thus infringe on his Fifth Amendment rights.

The judge in the case, William Alsup, decided that Levandowski’s Fifth Amendment rights can’t extend to Uber’s mandate to produce a document. Levandowski’s attorney appealed that decision, and today a U.S. court of appeals maintained the original decision.

That due diligence report has become a key part of the case. Earlier, Alphabet argued that the document would not only prove that Levandowski stole 14,000 documents from the company before resigning and starting his own self-driving startup called Otto, but that Uber knew about it.

Alphabet is suing Uber for patent infringement over a crucial self-driving technology called lidar, which is a laser-based radar. The company claims that Levandowski stole the designs for this technology, and has potentially been using it in Uber’s self-driving systems; Uber denies this. That’s why Alphabet has asked the judge to force Uber to cease all of its self-driving operations that include the use of this technology.

Uber says that vehicles on the road today use off-the-shelf lidar technology from Velodyne, and that the in-house lidar the company’s engineers are building was developed before Levandowski joined.

Update: The headline of this story was updated to clarify that Anthony Levandowski had not lost his bid to invoke Fifth Amendment rights.

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