Stories

The full history of the Uber-Waymo legal fight

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

In late February, Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo filed a stunning lawsuit against Uber, alleging the company had been using stolen proprietary technology. At the center of the dispute is Otto, a self-driving car startup founded by former Waymo employees that Uber acquired last year, and its leader, Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly downloaded 14,000 Waymo files before quitting and convincing several colleagues to join him at the new company.

Why it matters: The lawsuit could jeopardize Uber's self-driving efforts, which the company has said are crucial to its long-term success. It also raises questions around intellectual property and the ability of employees to work for competitors as a growing number of companies — both established Silicon Valley names as well as new startups — rush to develop self-driving car technology.