updated 02:25 pm EDT, Fri May 27, 2011
Google to fight PayPal trade secret lawsuit
Google in a statement Friday afternoon planned to fight back against the eBay and PayPal lawsuit accusing it of stealing employees and trade secrets for Google Wallet. The company insisted that it would "respect trade secrets." It went on to argue that the staffers, Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius, had the right to leave for another company since experience was vital to moving up in the technology industry.
"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," it said.
The claims partly sidestepped the claims lodged by PayPal and its parent company. Its argument was not that Google had taken valuable employees but the timing and circumstances. Bedier had jumped from PayPal to Google even as he was negotiating a deal for PayPal support in Android Market, Tilenius was also still in the middle of contract work when she was hired and may have at a minimum broken an agreement.
California does have a law banning no-compete clauses in contracts, which companies sometimes use to try to prevent a departing worker from taking immediately relevant knowledge to a competitor. Staff don't necessarily have protection if it's believed they were providing confidential information.
Companies in the San Francisco Bay Area have at some points been loathe to poach each other's staff, though this in itself has caused trouble. Unofficial anti-poaching rules led to lawsuits over the practice targeting companies like Apple and Google that privately agreed not to solicit each other's staff.