Angela Merendino | AFP | Getty Images
Anthony Levandowski, Otto Co-founder and VP of Engineering at Uber.
San Francisco district judge William Alsup said in a hearing on Wednesday he’ll likely tell the jury that Uber lawyers “misled the court” and repeatedly withheld key documents, which could give Alphabet self-driving subsidiary Waymo an edge in its lawsuit against the ride-hailing giant.
Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of the case, stole over 14,000 documents from Alphabet relating to self-driving car technology when he left the company, and took these trade secrets to Uber. Levandowski worked for Google’s self-driving car unit before leaving to found his own company, Otto, which was later acquired by Uber.
Law firm Morrison & Foerster, which represents Uber, recently revealed that they have information from some of Levandowski’s devices. Waymo argued that the law firm therefore has stolen documents and is knowingly hiding them from the court.
Waymo still has to prove that Uber used these trade secrets in creating their technology. However, showing that Uber may be hiding evidence may help Waymo’s case.
Judge Alsup also threatened to put Uber’s main attorney, Arturo Gonzalez, on the stand during the trial to explain why they have been slow to present evidence to the court, saying he was “inclined to tell the jury…that he was ordered to come clean, ordered to come clean again, and did not come clean — finally in June or July came clean.”
“You misled the judge time and time again,” Alsup said.
Alsup has asked Waymo to write out a proposed jury injunction in “non-argumentative terms” to present this argument to the jury at the trial in October.