Judge Grants Waymo's Request To Postpone Trade Secret Trial Against Uber

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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.

Uber employees researching rivals were given training with the goal to "impede, obstruct or influence any lawsuit against Uber", Jacobs said, including a communication strategy "to ensure we didn't create a paper trail that came back to haunt the company in any potential civil or criminal litigation".

Jacobs was part of the "Strategic Services Group" at Uber, although Bloomberg says the team has now been renamed. 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. On Tuesday, Alsup delayed it so Waymo can have more time to gather evidence.

Jacobs, whose lawyer wrote the letter at the center of the courtroom drama, testified Tuesday that Uber had set up a secret unit to steal trade secrets from its rivals overseas.

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

Alsup described the allegations in the letter as "scandalous" and lashed out at Uber's legal team for not informing him about them before he was notified by the Justice Department. The judge also called Uber's espionage team "a plumber's unit doing bad deeds". But the judge wasn't swayed.

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

"We're going to have to put the trial off", Alsup said.

Uber has denied the allegations of theft. He didn't immediately set a new trial date.

The case follows Waymo's February lawsuit against Uber, which claimed that a former Waymo exec Anthony Levendowski shared confidential files with Uber.

Softbank, the Japanese firm leading the proposed investment, is proposing to buy the shares at a 30 percent discount from Uber's previous valuation of roughly $68 billion, according to multiple media reports citing unnamed people familiar with the terms.