Uber-Waymo trial delayed as U.S. judge raises prospect of 'cover-up'
Nov 29 2017
Waymo said that Uber intentionally hid key evidence in the case, and it needed more time to prepare for trial now that the evidence has come to light.
The hearing on Tuesday centered on a letter from a lawyer for former Uber security analyst Richard Jacobs that Uber did not show Waymo as both sides prepared their cases. He said he was part of the ride-sharing firm's corporate surveillance team, which has now been disbanded. According to Law360, a California judge ruled in Waymo's favor on Tuesday after Waymo accused Uber of hiding evidence that was discovered by federal prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup described the allegations that surfaced in a Justice Department investigation as "scandalous".
The trial between Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto subsidiary, and Uber over the rideshare company's alleged theft of intellectual property took a turn toward ludicrous during a hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Waymo, the self-driving auto company spun out of Google's moonshot unit, has accused Uber of recruiting its former employees and stealing its trade secrets in order to advance its development of autonomous vehicles.
Waymo's lawsuit accusing Uber of stealing the technology had been scheduled to begin next Monday.
The 37-page memo, written earlier this year by Ric Jacobs, detailed the tactics Uber used to allegedly obtain trade secrets and destroy evidence, according to WSJ.
Jacobs said that Uber reached a $4.5 million settlement, including a consulting contract, after he was sacked. Part of that settlement can be withheld if Jacobs violates a provision requiring him not to say anything that would harm Uber.
Uber denied using any of Waymo's trade secrets. "If even half of what's in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial and not be able to prove the things said in that letter". Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who left Waymo to spearhead Uber's self-driving vehicle unit, allegedly stole thousands of confidential documents on his way out the door, but Uber has maintained that those documents never reached its corporate servers. In a scandal that broke last week, the company tried to cover up a 2016 data breach involving millions of its customers and drivers.