Waymo-Uber Trial Delayed Over Claims Of Hidden Evidence

  • Waymo-Uber Trial Delayed Over Claims Of Hidden Evidence

Waymo-Uber Trial Delayed Over Claims Of Hidden Evidence

An Uber Technologies Inc. whistleblower made explosive allegations that a company team stole trade secrets to gain an edge over rivals, prompting a judge to further delay the ride-hailing company's trial with Waymo.

Waymo has estimated damages in the case at about $1.9 billion and wants to curtail Uber's self-driving vehicle program, which Waymo says uses its technology.

Waymo asked the court on Monday to postpone the start of the trial, which was set to begin next week, saying Uber had concealed the memo.

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Richard Jacobs, an ex-employee and current consultant for Uber, wrote in a letter and testified under oath that he had been a part of a corporate espionage unit within the company that was responsible for stealing trade secrets, hiding evidence, and influencing lawsuits.

Jacobs testified that the surveillance team used "anonymous servers" separate from the "main part of Uber". The contents of the letter haven't been shared publicly yet, but a Wall Street Journal story reported that Uber employees were trained to "impede" ongoing investigations by using messages that vanished and couldn't be traced to the company.

Judge William Alsup said on Tuesday that he had only just received the memo, which a former Uber security analyst had sent to one of the company's lawyers. Part of that settlement can be withheld if Jacobs violates a provision requiring him not to say anything that would harm Uber. 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.

The trial was originally scheduled for December 4.

Alsup said it would be a "huge injustice" to force Waymo to go to trial given the new evidence that surfaced in the case, according Reuters.

Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that former Waymo executive Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, called Otto, which Uber acquired soon after.

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.