A Federal Judge Scolds Uber in Court Amid Its Legal Battle Against Alphabet’s Waymo

November 28, 2017, 6:16 PM UTC

A U.S. judge on Tuesday said Uber Technologies had withheld evidence from him and granted a request from Alphabet‘s Waymo self-driving car unit to delay a trade secrets trial that had been scheduled to begin next week.

It would be a “huge injustice” to force Waymo to go to trial now given new evidence that recently surfaced in the case, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said at a hearing in San Francisco federal court.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on Dec. 4. Waymo said it learned of the new evidence last week after the U.S. Department of Justice shared it with Alsup.

The two companies are battling to dominate the fast-growing field of self-driving cars.

An Uber representative on Tuesday referred to an earlier company statement, which said Uber “has been waiting for its day in court for quite some time now” and was keen to have a jury hear the merits of the case.

In a series of orders last week, Alsup disclosed that a former Uber security analyst’s lawyer sent a letter to an Uber in-house lawyer more than six months ago. Waymo then accused Uber of concealing the letter, saying it contained important facts about the case, according to a court filing on Monday.

Alsup ordered the former Uber security analyst, Richard Jacobs, to appear in court.

At the hearing on Tuesday, Jacobs testified that his letter contained allegations that Uber’s markets analytics group “exists expressly for the purpose for acquiring trade secrets, code base and competitive intelligence.”

Jacobs said he learned of this activity through discussions at Uber with his manager and other colleagues.

The court hearing was still ongoing on Tuesday.

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.

Uber denied using any of Waymo’s trade secrets. Levandowski has declined to answer questions about the allegations, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination.

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