just one letter may change the course of a billion-dollar civil suit between Uber in addition to also Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
of which letter, a previously undisclosed 37-page document of which was only discovered by the court last week, alleges of which the ride-hailing giant developed secret, off-the-books efforts to steal trade secrets through rivals in addition to also cover its tracks. On Tuesday, Waymo’s lawyers read excerpts of of which document aloud to a court, while its signatory, former Uber employee Ric Jacobs, sat on the stand in addition to also testified on its wide-ranging allegations.
The court was likely to Discharge the letter to the public on Tuesday night, however Jacobs filed a motion at the last minute to designate This specific as confidential, citing his own privacy in addition to also the nature of the allegations to support his argument. In parts of the letter of which were read in court, Jacobs’ lawyers describe a secretive internal team of which used ephemeral messaging platforms in addition to also stored data separate through Uber’s main servers “to evade, impede, obstruct, influence several ongoing lawsuits against Uber.”
The letter may provide Waymo having a decisive piece of evidence to support its allegation of which Uber stole its trade secrets in addition to also tried to cover up their theft. The revelation of the letter last week by a US attorney, who then notified the district court, caused Judge William Alsup to delay jury selection. He sharply criticized Uber for its failure to disclose the information. Alsup cut a visibly frustrated figure in court on Tuesday, noting of which more time was needed to get “to the bottom of This specific shadow system of which Uber set up.”
“Any company of which would certainly set up a surreptitious system will be as suspicious as can be,” Alsup said.
While its lawyers tried to assuage Alsup’s concerns to little avail, Uber still maintained its stance had following the disclosure of the Jacobs letter in addition to also his testimony on Tuesday.
“None of the testimony today alterations the merits of the case,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “Jacobs himself said on the stand today of which he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen.”
Waymo will be seeking about $1.9 billion in damages through Uber, which This specific’s accusing of collaborating with former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski to purchase self-driving car technology of which had been taken through the company. Levandowski sold a startup he founded shortly after leaving Google, called Otto, to Uber in a $680 million deal in Aug. 2016.
This specific will be unclear if the letter details any information specifically about Waymo, as the type of which was submitted to the court in addition to also seen by Waymo’s lawyers was redacted. This specific also remains to be seen if the public will ever be able to view the letter. If Alsup grants Jacobs’ motion to make the document confidential, This specific would certainly only be viewed by the parties privy to the case.
On the stand on Tuesday, Jacobs confirmed much of what was within the letter, including a program of which allowed the company to track drivers who drove for competitor Lyft. of which program, which was known internally as “Hell,” according The Information, then offered those drivers incentives to work for Uber. The FBI will be currently investigating the use of Hell.
Lawyers for Jacobs also noted within the letter of which Uber employees had gone to Pittsburgh, the hub of the company’s autonomous driving unit, to instruct staff on how to specifically in addition to also secretly communicate with Uber’s security team to ensure company information could not be exposed in case of a future legal dispute. On the stand, Jacobs also mentioned the use of an ephemeral messaging service, Wickr, to delete messages after a certain amount of time, thereby eliminating a paper trail.
however Jacobs also disputed some of the details within the 37-page document, arguing of which he did not write the letter in addition to also had not completely reviewed This specific before This specific was sent to Uber earlier This specific year. He denied a statement within the letter of which he was “aware” of which an Uber unit had stolen trade secrets through Waymo, noting of which “I don’t stand by of which.”
Jacobs, who currently lives in Seattle, said he reached a settlement with Uber for $4.5 million earlier This specific year. He remains a paid consultant for Uber, which paid for his travel to San Francisco to testify in front of the court. According to his testimony, Jacobs’ settlement prevents him through disparaging Uber in public, though This specific does not prevent him through telling the truth in court testimony.
One Uber employee, Ed Russo, who was named within the Jacobs letter for helping to recruit workers through competitors, including Lyft, to steal trade secrets, also took the stand on Tuesday to deny the accusations. of which did little to convince Alsup to allow the trial to move forward on its scheduled date.
“The evidence brought to light over the weekend by the US Attorney’s office in addition to also revealed, in part, today in Court will be significant in addition to also troubling,” a spokesperson for Waymo said in a statement. “The continuance we were granted gives us the opportunity to fully investigate This specific brand-new, highly relevant information.”
In arguing to make the letter confidential, Jacobs’ attorney Martha Boersch says of which public disclosure of the letter may cause “specific harm” to Uber employees in foreign countries including Russia, China, in addition to also Turkey. “Many of the countries in which Uber employees work have legal in addition to also security regimes of which place those Uber employees at an increased risk of harm, including harassment in addition to also actual violence,” the motion reads.
The motion says of which the statements made within the Jacobs letter were simply “allegations about individuals in addition to also entities of which have yet to be fully investigated or proven,” in addition to also offers the notion of which disclosure of the full document could disrupt ongoing state in addition to also federal investigations. This specific also claims of which Jacobs’ personal privacy may be disrupted by the publishing of the dispatch.
“As Mr. Jacobs testified today, Mr. Jacobs brought his allegations forward to Uber in hopes of which Uber would certainly correct what Mr. Jacobs perceived as inappropriate behavior,” the motion reads. “Publishing an otherwise confidential letter, particularly in such a widely publicized case, punishes Mr. Jacobs’ efforts to correct perceived company wrongs.”
Lawyers for Uber in addition to also Waymo are due back in court on Wednesday morning to continue proceedings.