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Anthony Levandowski, then-head of Uber's self-driving program, spoke about their driverless car in San Francisco before he was fired from Uber in May. Photo: Eric Risberg / AP

Just a month before the scheduled trial, the federal judge threw out on Thursday one of the trade secret claims in Waymo's lawsuit against Uber. He also dismissed Otto Trucking, the startup founded by the engineer at the center of the case, as a defendant, and threw out a technical analysis by one of Waymo's expert witnesses.

Between the lines: The dismissal of Otto Trucking is the latest instance of the judge's nudging Waymo to show it has a case against Uber, and not just against Otto Trucking co-founder Anthony Levandowski who is accused of downloading proprietary files. Waymo specifically didn't name Levandowski as a defendant as a way to keep the lawsuit out of arbitration, and the judge argued that it must now stick with this decision without trying to use Otto as a stand-in for him. His other decisions also show the judge's growing skepticism of Waymo's case.

Update: The judge has also ruled to exclude testimony from Waymo's financial damages expert, Michael Wagner.

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.