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Uber-Waymo Trial Delayed Again Following Allegations of Rogue Conduct at Uber

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REUTERS  Kim Kyung-Hoon  File

A federal judge postponed Waymo's trial against Uber Technologies Inc. that was scheduled to start Wednesday, while sharply criticizing the ride-hailing company for withholding evidence.

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His lawyer subsequently wrote a 37-page letter summarizing allegations that Uber used an espionage team to steal its competitors' trade secrets and tried to hide the misconduct by using computers and other devices created to leave no digital trails.

Alsup voiced his own concern over what he called potentially criminal conduct involving a hidden system of messaging at Uber.

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The evidence at the heart of the postponement was a letter from a former Uber security analyst's attorney to an Uber lawyer. 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.

"Given Uber's consistent failures to meet its discovery obligations in this case, and apparent misrepresentations to this court, Waymo has no choice but to seek a continuance of the trial date to enable Waymo to take additional discovery on this new information that is indisputably relevant to Waymo's trade secret misappropriation claims", Waymo said in a court filing.

Jacobs, whose lawyer wrote the letter at the center of the courtroom drama, testified Tuesday that Uber had set up a secret unit to steal trade secrets from its rivals overseas.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on December 4. Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who left Waymo to spearhead Uber's self-driving vehicle unit, allegedly stole thousands of confidential documents on his way out the door, but Uber has maintained that those documents never reached its corporate servers. Hackers stole the personal information of 57 million Uber users in October 2016, and Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to keep the theft secret. The contents of the letter haven't been shared publicly yet, but a Wall Street Journal story reported that Uber employees were trained to "impede" ongoing investigations by using messages that vanished and couldn't be traced to the company. Uber paid $680 million a year ago for a self-driving vehicle startup founded by Levandowski after he left Waymo in January 2016.

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