Judge postpones trial Waymo v. Uber based on memo bomb




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

Judge William Alsup said Tuesday that he had just received the memo, which a former Uber security badyst sent to one of the company's lawyers. The content of the letter has not yet been shared publicly, but The Wall Street Journal reported that Uber employees were trained to "impede" ongoing investigations by using messages that disappeared and could not be traced back to the company.

The note on the page, written earlier this year by Ric Jacobs, details the tactics Uber allegedly used to obtain trade secrets and destroy evidence, according to WSJ. Uber fired Jacobs in April.

Waymo asked the court Monday to postpone the start of the trial, which was due to begin next week, and said Uber had hidden the memo.

"We will have to suspend the trial because if half of what is contained in that letter is true, it would be a great injustice to force Waymo to go to trial," Alsup said on Tuesday, according to the WSJ. , as he conceded the delay. A new start date has not been established.

Waymo and Uber did not respond to requests for comments.

Waymo sued Uber in February, accusing the company of stealing the secret technology of the car without a driver. The case centers on former Google employee Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly stole 14,000 "highly confidential" files before leaving the company to begin his own driverless truck start. Uber bought that startup several months later for $ 680 million and put Levandowski at the head of its autonomous vehicle program.

Levandowski has since been fired by Uber. But Waymo says that does not rule out the possibility that the company that follows the road still uses the secrets in the files allegedly stolen for their own automotive technology.

Federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice are also badyzing whether the trade secrets in question were taken illegally. So far, no charges have been filed.

Uber has been rocked by scandals over the past year, including several claims of badual harbadment. In a scandal that erupted last week, the company tried to cover up a 2016 data breach that involved millions of its customers and drivers.

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