Published: Wed, November 29, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Uber-Waymo case: Dramatic turn as judge says Uber lawyers withheld evidence

Uber-Waymo case: Dramatic turn as judge says Uber lawyers withheld evidence

It was the second time the judge has agreed to delay a trial at Waymo's request. He was asked by a lawyer for Waymo about a staff attorney at Uber who allegedly guided efforts to "impede, obstruct, or influence" lawsuits against the company. He said he was part of the ride-sharing firm's corporate surveillance team, which has now been disbanded. "I can't trust anything you say because it has been proven wrong so many times", Alsup told Uber attorney Arturo Gonzalez.

A federal court judge in California delayed the start of a civil trial between ride-hailing giant Uber and Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto unit, after receiving a memo written by a former Uber employee that about the alleged theft of trade secrets.

A former security manager for Uber testified in San Francisco on Tuesday that he believed the ride-hailing service had set up a secret unit to steal trade secrets from its rivals overseas.

Waymo sued Uber in February, accusing the company of stealing secretive self-driving auto technology.

Jacobs said that Uber reached a $4.5 million settlement, including a consulting contract, after he was sacked. In light of the new evidence and allegations that Uber lawyers had been withholding Jacobs's letter, the judge indefinitely delayed the trial, which was set to begin on December 4.

Jacobs took the stand to testify about the letter's statement that Uber's Marketplace Analytics "exists expressly for the goal of acquiring trade secrets, code-based & competitive intelligence", as Waymo lawyer Charles Verhoeven said, quoting from the letter.

Uber has denied the allegations of theft.

The trial was set to begin next Tuesday in San Francisco.

"We're going to have to put the trial off because if even half of what's in that letter is true it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial", Alsup said on Tuesday, according to the WSJ, as he granted the delay.

Waymo is alleging that Uber has been building its own fleet of self-driving cars by using trade secrets taken by former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski.

Most recently, Uber revealed that the data of 57 million Uber customers and 600,000 drivers had been stolen in a breach more than a year ago, and that the company had paid two hackers $100,000 to cover it up.

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