Enlarge (credit: Waymo)

SAN FRANCISCO—During the opening 15 minutes of a third day of hearings in Waymo v. Uber, US District Judge William Alsup blasted a Waymo lawyer for Waymo’s attempt to shield its former employees against Uber’s upcoming line of questioning.

The two companies are entangled not only in court via this high-stakes trade secrets lawsuit, but as several former Waymo employees now work at Uber, the startup now wants to depose some of its own employees to better understand how ephemeral messaging—apps such as Wickr or Telegram—was used during their tenure at Waymo. (Waymo is the self-driving car division at Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Waymo was formerly part of Google.)

Last week, Judge Alsup raised concerns about Uber’s alleged use of ephemeral messaging as a way to avoid civil or criminal litigation as has been claimed by one of its former employees. Uber has now scheduled more depositions prior to a December 22 deadline as the case rapidly moves ahead toward a February 2018 trial.

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