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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The jury trial for the Waymo-Uber lawsuit over alleged trade secret theft has been pushed back to December 4, a San Francisco federal judge ruled on Tuesday. The trial was initially set to begin next week.

Between the lines: The delay increases the possibility that the companies settle out of court instead of going through a trial. This is not only because of the added time to make a deal, but also because if the court doesn't grant Waymo's request to keep parts of the proceedings confidential, Waymo could decide it'd rather settle than lay out all its secrets for the public (and press) to see.

Delay decoded: The delay was at the request of Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car unit, which argued that Uber has been withholding documents and evidence, which means it'll need more time to adequately prepare. One big item Waymo wants more time to examine is a due diligence report prepared as part of Uber's acquisition last year of Otto Trucking, a self-driving truck company founded by former Waymo employees.

From Waymo:

We welcome the Court's ruling. Since filing this case, Waymo has confirmed that Uber acquired Anthony Levandowski's company while knowing he had taken and retained massive amounts of confidential Waymo information, and we have uncovered significant evidence that Uber is in fact using Waymo trade secrets in its technology. New evidence continues to come to light through thousands of documents and hundreds of previously unexamined devices that Defendants are only now turning over. We are reviewing these materials and look forward to presenting our case at trial.

From Uber:

The Court has made clear that Waymo's case is not what they hoped, and that more time will not change the hard fact that their trade secrets never came to Uber. We're ready to go to trial now, and will be ready after this very brief continuance.

The story has been updated with statements from both companies.

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

2 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.