Uber knowingly withheld important evidence from the US judge presiding over the self-driving vehicle tech trade secret lawsuit involving Uber and Waymo (Google/Alphabet). That’s what the judge has revealed, as part of his explanation for delaying the trial that had been scheduled to begin on December 4th.
The new evidence was brought to light just last week, after the US Department of Justice shared it with US District Judge William Alsup (San Francisco federal court). Owing to this revelation, Alsup has stated that it would be a “huge injustice” to force Waymo to go to trial so shortly after the new evidence appeared.
The new evidence is a kicker — a letter from the lawyer of a former Uber security analyst, which was sent to an in-house lawyer at Uber over half a year ago, which Uber has seemingly intentionally concealed. The letter alleges that Uber’s markets analytics group “exists expressly for the purpose for acquiring trade secrets, code base, and competitive intelligence.”
That’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it? I wonder why Uber would work to conceal such a letter…
“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,’ ” Reuters reports.
“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.”
As some background here, for those just tuning in, Waymo (Google) filed a lawsuit against Uber back in February alleging that the former Waymo exec Anthony Levandowski (fired in May) downloaded over 14,000 confidential files just before exiting the company and starting up his own self-driving semi truck firm Otto, which was subsequently acquired by Uber.
It’s come out since the lawsuit was filed that Levandowski was apparently in close contact with Uber execs well before leaving Waymo, and that some sort of deal with those execs may have been in place involving the theft of trade secrets. To date, Levandowski hasn’t answered any questions about the “allegations, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination.”
Silicon Valley is a beautiful place.
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