The first trial is scheduled for October 10.
Uber is asking a judge to reject Alphabet’s request to delay the first jury trial in its self-driving lawsuit, which is scheduled for October 10.
The ride-hail company claims that Alphabet is simply asking for a “do-over” because its allegations that an executive stole files and brought them to Uber has weakened.
Alphabet is suing Uber for trade secret misappropriation, alleging that one of its former executives, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded 14,000 files and took them to Uber after it acquired his self-driving startup Otto. Uber, for its part, vehemently denies that any of the files have made it to the company’s servers.
Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has to decide whether he wants to settle this lawsuit or continue to have it cast a shadow on the company as it embarks on what many staffers and executives hope will be a new chapter in its history.
Alphabet initially requested and was granted an expedited trial date, but the company last week got hold of a report that Uber commissioned when it was considering buying Otto. Alphabet says it needs more time to pursue the “mountain of evidence” that it found in the sealed document, which could lead to more claims.
The ride-hail company is fighting the request to delay the trial, claiming it would be both unpractical and expensive to push the trial back. While Uber may be confident that it would prevail in a court trial, it could still be risky. Alphabet could depose former CEO Travis Kalanick and dig into his tenure, potentially embarrassing the company further.
The case has yet to make it to the jury trial, and already there has been endless coverage at every twist and turn. Larry Page, Travis Kalanick and at least dozens of other Alphabet and Uber employees and executives have been deposed. If Khosrowshahi’s quiet campaign to become Uber’s CEO is any indication, it’s clear that he likes to operate under the radar.
However, Alphabet may be less likely to agree to settle at this point, given that it has the long-sought-after due diligence document in its arsenal, and wants to get ahold of more evidence as a result.
“It’s now clear why Uber had fought so hard to hide these materials from Waymo and the Court,” a spokesperson for Alphabet’s self-driving arm Waymo said. “In addition to the Stroz Report, thousands of new documents and hundreds of previously unexamined devices are now being turned over to Waymo, adding to the direct evidence we’ve already found of trade secret misappropriation. They go to the heart of our case and in order to accommodate new depositions, expert reports and briefings, we’ve asked for additional time before trial.”
A judge could determine whether the trial will be delayed at a hearing on Wednesday, and has asked Alphabet to respond to Uber’s opposition.
Here’s Uber’s full opposition: