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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski was charged on Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California on 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Levandowski’s actions became well known during the now-settled civil case between Uber and Alphabet, but the criminal charges represent a new wrinkle.

“We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation, and we appreciate the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI on this case.”
— Waymo spokesperson

Context: Last year, Waymo, which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, accused Uber of stealing trade secrets from its self-driving vehicle program, alleging Levandowski illegally downloaded 14,000 confidential documents before leaving Waymo to start his own self-driving car company, Otto. Uber acquired Otto shortly after for a reported $680 million.

  • In a settlement, Waymo received about $244.8 million worth of stock in Uber (a 0.34% stake at a $72 billion valuation) and Uber pledged not to incorporate Waymo's trade secrets into its own technology.

Levandowski's current company, Pronto, said in a statement that Chief Safety Officer Robbie Miller will take over as CEO as a result of today's events.

Go deeper

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

11 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.