PayPal sues Google over mobile payments hire

PayPal has filed a lawsuit against Google over the hiring of one of its key payments executives, hitting back on the same day that the search company unveiled a long-awaited move into the mobile payments business.

The online payments company, which is owned by Ebay, on Thursday named as defendants two of its own former executives, who are now leading Google’s payments initiative, as well as the search company itself.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which revolves around the alleged disclosure of trade secrets and breaching of a non-solicitation agreement.

Californian courts are generally reluctant to enforce the “non-compete” agreements that executives often sign and which technically prevent them from working for competitors for a set period, said Robyn Crowther, a lawyer at Caldwell Leslie in Los Angeles.

But she said the type of claims in the PayPal case had a better chance of being upheld.

Legal wrangles over the hiring of key employees have become increasingly common as technology companies have moved more directly into each others’ markets.

Last year Hewlett-Packard filed a suit against Oracle over its hiring of former HP chief executive Mark Hurd, while IBM took legal action over Apple’s recruitment of hardware executive Mark Papermaster.

PayPal’s claims surround Google’s hiring of Osama Bedier, who left to work for the search company in January of this year. Mr Bedier had worked as PayPal’s vice-president for platform, mobile and new ventures, and has filled the same role at Google, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in a California state court in Santa Clara.

In its lawsuit, PayPal accused Mr Bedier of misappropriating its trade secrets in his work on Google’s rival mobile payment system.

It also said that Stephanie Telenius, a former Ebay executive who left the e-commerce company in 2009, and who is now Google’s head of e-commerce, had breached a non-poaching agreement by hiring Mr Bedier at Google.

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