A high-profile trial between Waymo and Uber was delayed on Tuesday after U.S. District Judge William Alsup concluded that the defendant withheld evidence from him, saying that denying Waymo’s postponement request would be a “huge injustice” in light of these revelations, Reuters reports. The development marks the second delay of the legal battle between the two tech giants which was originally meant to start in October but was pushed back to next Monday, December 4th. No specifics of the supposedly withheld evidence have been shared by the judge who only said the public will “hear everything” in due time.
Waymo’s second postponement request was filed yesterday after Alphabet’s self-driving subsidiary uncovered new evidence pertaining to its trade secret theft lawsuit against Uber. The unspecified evidence was handed over to the United States Department of Justice at some point last week, after which the agency disclosed it to Judge Alsup. The Mountain View, California-based company only said that the evidence is related to the contents of a letter authored by one of the defendant’s security analysts and addressed to an Uber lawyer. The reason why the contents of the letter were shared with Judge Alsup isn’t clear since such level of information sharing isn’t a standard judicial practice, at least not this close to trial. In a statement sent to some media outlets, Uber reiterated it’s looking forward to finally see the day it’s allowed to argue its case in court, suggesting that Waymo is stalling. Alphabet’s unit has yet to issue a comment on the matter in any capacity. It’s still unclear how long will the latest delay take, though a new trial date will presumably be pushed to late January.
The case between Waymo and Uber may stall yet again if criminal charges are brought onto Uber as part of the proceeds, according to some experts. Judge Alsup already asked the federal government to investigate Waymo’s claims of a trade secret theft that’s criminal in nature. Should the Northern California U.S. Attorney’s office that’s reportedly handling the probe suspect such a state of affairs and believe it can prove it, the criminal charges it would file in such a scenario would take precedence over any demands from Waymo.