Responding to the lawsuit filed by PayPal, Google says that people have the right to seek better jobs, though they respect trade secrets.
Silicon Valley was built on the ability of individuals to use their knowledge and expertise to seek better employment opportunities, an idea recognized by both California law and public policy. We respect trade secrets, and will defend ourselves against these claims, wrote a Google spokesperson in an emailed statement.
PayPal is suing Google for stealing trade secrets and interfering with its contractual relations with employees. The suit also says two former executives, Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius broke contractual agreements.
Bedier headed up the company's mobile platform business and new ventures. His job was to bring PayPal's point of sale and mobile technology to retailers. He is now doing the same job for Google, which he joined in January. PayPal says Bedier, using his knowledge of PayPal's business, gave away trade secrets to Google.
PayPal also says Telenius essentially poached its executive and that Google encouraged Bedier to reveal confidential information.
Telenius joined Google in 2009. She is barred by her contract with PayPal from soliciting other employees to work at Google - at least until March of this year -- but the suit says she did so before the non-solicitation agreement expired to get Bedier to defect to the search giant. Bedier, PayPal says, has also been soliciting employees to join Google.
Another piece of the suit is Bedier's role in negotiating with Google just before he left, and the conflict of interest that represents. PayPal was negotiating to serve as the payment conduit for Google's App Market. Bedier was the senior negotiator on PayPal's side, but he was interviewing for a job at Google without telling anyone at PayPal.
The suit doesn't just say Bedier brought the knowledge in his head. It also accuses him of taking sensitive documents dealing with PayPal's research about Google's position in the mobile payment market, as well as PayPal's own development of new features. He then showed them to non-PayPal employees. On top of that PayPal says it asked for the documents back, but Bedier has rebuffed his former bosses.
The suit does not say exactly which trade secrets, if any, might have been used to build the Google Wallet service. But it does say Google knew about and encouraged Bedier to take confidential information from his old employer.