Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ebay Sues Google

 This court battle is going to be one of the most watched out for court battles in Internet history as online shopping and auction website giant eBay sues web search engine giant Google.
Image via CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

eBay sued Google when Google hired or “poached” two of eBay’s employees, under its wholly owned subsidiary company online payment system PayPal, in a desperate effort of Google to understand better PayPal’s trade secrets. 
eBay, who filed the lawsuit on Thursday, May 26, painted a colourful, 28-page picture of betrayal and corporate espionage just hours after Google launched “Google Wallet” payment service in New York.
In a formal response released on Friday Google defended itself by stating that they hired two former PayPal employees based on their talent to run Google’s mobile payments service.  “Silicon Valley was built on the ability of individuals to use their knowledge and expertise to seek better employment opportunities, a principle recognized by both California law and public policy.  We respect trade secrets and will defend ourselves against these claims.”
The lawsuit specifically mentioned Google’s more than two years discussion with eBay that would have the search engine rely on PayPal to process payments for an application market set up for Google’s mobile phone software, Android.  The lawsuit also states that Google was said to have cut off this “Android” talks with eBay earlier this year after poaching enough PayPal people to set up its own mobile payments service.

Osama Bedier, one of PayPal’s former executives, was involved in these “Android” talks when he was still with PayPal.  He left the company to become Google’s vice president of payments merely four months ago.  It was said that Bedier transferred some of PayPal’s secrets to his computer and even uploaded sensitive information to Internet storage locker DropBox before leaving PayPal. 
One of eBay’s former executives, Stephanie Tilenus, got also involved in wooing her former colleague to go over to Google.  As part of Tilenus’ agreement with eBay in October 2009 when she left she agreed not to hire eBay employees until March of this year.  Bedier had been with Google for four months already.

Internet history would show that this isn’t Google’s first time to go to court when it comes to hiring a rival company’s employee/s.  It was sued six years ago when they hired a top Microsoft Corp. executive to oversee Google’s China operations. 

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