Judge postpones Uber trade secret trial based on bombshell memo

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Waymo sued Uber, saying that they stole trade secrets about self-driving vehicle technology.

Jacobs testified at the hearing that the letter contained allegations that Uber's markets analytics group "exists expressly for the objective for acquiring trade secrets, code base and competitive intelligence".

Jacobs' allegations of a trade-secret stealing unit appear to have been sent in a letter from his attorney to Uber - a letter that Uber should have provided the court and Waymo as part of discovery but failed to do so - a situation that could also implicate Uber's attorneys.

"If even half of what's in that letter is true it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial and not be able to prove the things that are said in that letter", Alsup said during a hearing Tuesday morning in Uber's home city, San Francisco.

Waymo asked the court on Monday to postpone the start of the trial, which was set to begin next week, saying Uber had concealed the memo.

Jacobs disputed some of the letter's contents in his testimony, including a claim that Uber stole trade secrets from Waymo. His allegations had been kept under wraps until the Justice Department passed them along to U.S. District Judge William Alsup last week. According to Law360, a California judge ruled in Waymo's favor on Tuesday after Waymo accused Uber of hiding evidence that was discovered by federal prosecutors. He said Uber had even gone as far as to hire former Central Intelligence Agency agents via contractors in its bid to obtain information on its rivals.

Jacobs also testified in person on Tuesday, where he said that the surveillance team at Uber used "anonymous servers" separate Uber's main servers, according to Bloomberg. "I can't trust anything you say because it has been proven wrong so many times", Alsup told Uber attorney Arturo Gonzalez.

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"It is possible that he has been bought off by Uber", Alsup said of Jacobs at one point during Tuesday's drama.

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

Waymo filed its lawsuit against Uber in February. "There's enough there under oath to believe there's a 50-50 chance it will turn out to be something very bad for Uber".

Uber countered in its own brief that Waymo had known about the destruction of Google disks since June but hadn't objected until its case "fell apart" following its failure to uncover trade-secret theft by Uber in a hotly contested due-diligence report.

Waymo is alleging that Uber has been building its own fleet of self-driving cars by using trade secrets taken by former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski. The Google spinoff claims Levandowski downloaded 14,000 files of trade secrets before resigning in January 2016 to start Ottomotto, and that Uber quickly struck a deal to buy the company and hire him to build autonomous vehicles using Waymo's technology.

The latest bombshell to drop on Uber came as the company tried to complete a $10 billion sale of its privately held stock.

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