The self-driving patent infringement case initiated by Waymo against Uber has been delayed by two months following a decision made by U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Tuesday. While the dispute was previously set to move to trial next Wednesday, October 11th, Alsup granted Waymo's postponement request made after Uber was legally compelled to produce a due diligence report on self-driving startup Otto Trucking compiled by digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg. The report was officially publicized yesterday and revealed that Otto's founder and former employee of both Uber and Google Anthony Levandowski had certain files from Alphabet's subsidiary in his possession even after leaving the Mountain View, California-based firm, and that Uber was aware of that fact prior to purchasing Otto for $680 million in the summer of 2016.
While Levandowski said he had the controversial files destroyed, the investigators weren't able to confirm that, with Uber still claiming that the document proves Google's self-driving trade secrets never made their way to the San Francisco company. The autonomous driving division of Alphabet that was spun off from Google has a different view of the published report, claiming it proves Levandowski consciously destroyed evidence and that Uber was aware of the fact he was in possession of some stolen intellectual property when it opted to acquire his company and protect him from litigation. Alsup seemingly wasn't entirely convinced by that argument and used the Tuesday hearing as an opportunity to harshly criticize Waymo, suggesting that nothing was stopping the firm from suing Levandowski personally. Instead, the company opted to go after Uber and initially claimed four patent infringements, with most of those claims being dropped in the meantime, Alsup said, illustrating how the plaintiff's case now seems significantly weaker than it was earlier this year.
Uber's legal representatives also didn't escape criticism from the presiding judge during the latest hearing on the matter, with Alsup indicating the ride-hailing firm actively sought to conceal evidence of possible wrongdoings and had some "very suspicious" behavior on record. The competent judge finally ruled that the case will move to trial on December 4th and run until the 20th, whereas its jury will be picked on November 29th.