A federal court judge in California delayed the start of a civil trial between ride-hailing giant Uber and Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto unit, after receiving a memo written by a former Uber employee that about the alleged theft of trade secrets.
Waymo had requested the delay on Monday so it could look into whether or not Uber had withheld evidence in the case.
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Former Uber employee and whistleblower Richard Jacobs testified today that Uber's marketplace analytics team was tasked with unearthing information about competitors, including trade secrets and code, according to Gizmodo.
The company also relied on a surreptitious computer system to eliminate all digital trails, and dispatched its security team to train self-driving vehicle engineers in Pittsburgh how to hide their electronic tracks, Jacobs testified.
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. On Tuesday, Alsup delayed it so Waymo can have more time to gather evidence.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup received a letter from the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California investigating allegations into anticompetitive behavior at the ride-hailing company, according to court filings.
Pressed under questioning, Jacobs acknowledged that the letter also alleged that Uber had stolen trade secrets from Waymo, as well as other intellectual property in the U.S.
The trial was originally scheduled for December 4.
Uber has denied the allegations of theft.
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.
Alsup said it would be a "huge injustice" to force Waymo to go to trial given the new evidence that surfaced in the case, according Reuters.
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.
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