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Judge Grants Waymo's Request To Postpone Trade Secret Trial Against Uber
29 November 2017, 01:09 | Melanie Burgess
Caitlin O'Hara for The New York Times Waymo is a unit of Alphabet Google’s parent
Uber's logo is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, November 27, 2017.
The letter was penned by an attorney for former Uber security team member Ric Jacobs, who left the company in April, as the Journal notes.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup received a letter from the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California investigating allegations into anticompetitive behavior at the ride-hailing company, according to court filings.
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. Uber says it is innocent because Waymo's trade secrets never made it to its servers; multiple searches failed to find any.
Alsup expressed his frustration with the company again on Tuesday. "You're making the impression that this is a total cover-up".
Jacobs testified that the surveillance team used "anonymous servers" separate from the "main part of Uber".
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In a statement defending itself, Uber pointed to Jacobs' testimony the he wasn't aware of the company stealing any of Waymo's trade secrets. The letter bolsters Waymo's claims that Uber stole its trade secrets pertaining to autonomous driving technology. He also added that, "I can no longer trust the words of the lawyers for Uber in this case". He also said that he was unemployed but appears to be on a million-dollar "consulting" contract with Uber that has an additional $1.5m payout at the end of that agreement. Under questioning by Uber lawyers, he described the importance of using secure communications for legitimate reasons, including ensuring the safety of workers overseas.
Jacobs testified today in civil court that the Marketplace Analytics team scoured competitors' GitHub accounts to find private code but balked at the letter's suggestion that the team stole trade secrets, particularly from Waymo.
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. Levandowski has declined to answer questions about the allegations, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination.
The trial was originally scheduled to begin on December 4, but Waymo filed a last-minute motion to postpone on Monday.
"If half of what's in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to Waymo to have to go to trial", Alsup said.
A consortium led by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp this week is launching a multi-billion dollar tender offer for Uber shares, a deal that would bring the ride services company a well regarded, deep-pocketed investor. Over the past year, Uber has been rocked by revelations of rampant sexual harassment inside the company, technological trickery created to thwart regulators and a yearlong cover-up of a hacking attack that stole the personal information of 57 million passengers and 600,000 drivers.
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