U.S. District Judge William Alsup has delayed the trial for Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber and criticised both companies’ lawyers for “suspicious” actions.
Ars Technica reports that the judge presiding over the lawsuit has delayed the trial, criticising the actions of both companies’ lawyers, accusing them of telling “half-truths.” After a hearing Tuesday, Alsup said, “I’m going to give you a schedule, and we’re not going to argue about it. We’re going to pick the jury on November 29. We will start the trial on December 4, and it will run until December 20.”
Lawyers for both companies argued over documents allowed to be produced in the trial and when depositions would take place. Waymo’s lawyer, Charles Verhoeven, argued that tens of thousand of documents relating to the case were only produced after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Uber must hand over the due diligence report it commissioned when acquiring self-driving trucking company Otto. “To say that this volume is surprising is an understatement,” said Verhoeven discussing the report. “It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable.”
Uber’s counsel, Arturo Gonzalez, argued, “They knew when they chose the trial date that they might not even see the Stroz report. The vast majority of these devices [that Waymo still wants for discovery] are devices that Anthony Levandowski had in a storage facility in Turlock that he hasn’t used since 2010. It’s a bunch of old stuff. If they want to waste their time going through that, they can. But they haven’t found anything, and they won’t find anything. It’s not good cause for a continuance.”
After discussing the case with both lawyers, Alsup stated, “When this case started, Waymo had a strong case against Levandowski. But it didn’t sue Levandowski; it sued Uber.” Alsup continued to say, “Waymo alleged that Uber had stolen its trade secrets and had been violating four patents. Waymo had people signing, under oath, statements about how they could tell the patents had been violated. It’s now turned out that the patent claims have completely vanished. They’ve been dropped. The expert you had was way out of bounds. There was no patent infringement.”
“I think when Waymo got into this case, it thought it was going to go into the files and find an exact duplicate of the Waymo files,” said Alsup, “As it turns out, the product is dissimilar in a lot of ways. It may even be a vast improvement over what was going on Waymo. So they’ve come up short there.”
Alsup also focused on Uber’s actions though, accusing them of using joint attorney-client defense privilege to attempt to keep the due dilligence report secret, calling it an “elaborate scheme to conceal the facts from the public and particularly from Waymo.”
“That seemed remarkable to me, after 25 years of doing what you lawyers have been doing and 18 years on the bench,” Alsup said. “That the most important witness in the case, somehow his own files got overlooked. That’s very suspicious.”