Uber-Waymo Trial Delayed Again Following Allegations of Rogue Conduct at Uber

REUTERS  Kim Kyung-Hoon  File

A judge today delayed the start of a trade-secret theft case against Uber - after evidence that the upstart operated a secret trade-secret-stealing unit was revealed at the last minute.

Waymo requested the delay on Monday so it could look into whether or not Uber had withheld evidence in the case.

Waymo claims that the letter explains why the 14,000 documents stolen by Anthony Levandowski did not appear on Uber's servers.

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Jacobs is said to claimed that his unit was told not to "create a paper trail that could come back to haunt Uber" - although where and how Jacobs made that claim is unclear since all the documents are under seal and neither the judge nor Waymo lawyer referenced where the information had come from.

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.

Prosecutors had informed U.S. District Judge William Alsup that they were in contact with him during their own criminal investigation into Uber's alleged thefts.

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. Uber fired Jacobs in April.

Uber is accused of using cloak-and-dagger tactics.

"Uber has been waiting for its day in court for quite some time now", Uber said in a statement to Bloomberg. Levandowski has declined to answer questions about the allegations, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination.

"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.

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.

The trial between Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving vehicle 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.

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