From launch day press coverage bonanza to dismal other-shoe-drops lawsuit, it looks like Google Wallet may have some splainin’ to do. Or at least PayPal and eBay think it does.
Google took the wraps off its new mobile e-payment service yesterday, a service that promises to let you abandon plastic cards and just use your smartphone (Google’s Nexus S 4G for starters) in their stead by tapping the phone against readers installed at supporting retailers.
(More on TIME.com: Google Wallet Is Coming. Don’t Be Afraid.)
Looking to rain on Google’s parade, PayPal and eBay followed up with a lawsuit late yesterday, claiming Google’s new e-payment service doesn’t pass the trade secret sniff test.
The suit alleges Google Wallet uses technology obtained when Google poached eBay and PayPal execs Stephanie Tilenius and Osama Bedier. Tilenius left a high-level executive position with eBay in early 2010 to become Google’s VP of Commerce, while Bedier jumped from VP of “platform, mobile, and new ventures” to Google’s VP of “payments” last January. All of which looks, you have to admit, a little damning.
Then there’s the part where Google and PayPal reportedly worked for years to hash out a deal where PayPal would be the checkout system for Google’s Android platform. But Google deep-sixed all that, says PayPal in the court filing, then proceeded to swipe the deal’s lead negotiator, Bedier, with the help of Tilenius (who allegedly tried to recruit Bedier repeatedly). What’s more, PayPal alleges Bedier transferred “up-to-date versions of documents outlining PayPal’s mobile payment and point of sale strategies to his non-PayPal computer just days before leaving PayPal for Google on Jan 24, 2011” and that Bedier has since repeatedly refused to return “trade secret information.”
(More on TIME.com: How the New ‘Google Wallet’ Mobile Payment System Works)
“Spending time in courtrooms is generally not our thing,” wrote PayPal senior director Amanda Pires on PayPal’s official blog, adding “…sometimes the behaviors of people and competitors make legal action the only meaningful way for a company to protect one of its most valuable assets – its trade secrets.”
What’s PayPal want out of this? An injunction to prevent the use of alleged trade secrets, “further equitable relief in the most appropriate form” (translation: restitution of some sort), money of course (“compensatory damages”), some sort of royalty on said trade secrets, and other variations of the above (mostly just mo’ money).
All’s fair in love and mobile-wallet war? We’ll see. Google occasionally responds to lawsuits publicly. No doubt we’ll hear different if Google fires back, or airs any PayPal dirty laundry.