PayPal vs Google
IT Companies like Google, Apple or Microsoft are very well known and count to the largest enterprises worldwide. Their power is enormous and to meet the conditions of the global market while facing stiff competition, Research & Development is essential to create innovations.
Just recently Google came up with the idea of a new mobile payment system called “Google Wallet.” Users will only need to tap their phone (running with a Google Android system) on a reader in the shop and the desired products are paid. Fair enough, but PayPal, e-payments subsidiary of Ebay, claims that the invention was strongly supported by knowledge of 2 of their former employees, Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius.
But where do you draw the line between stealing knowledge and simply using experience?
On the one hand, PayPal accuses Bedier, one of the earliest PayPal employees, of having taken trade secrets with him on his computer, so published on “The Atlantic Wire” by Adam Clark Estes. These trade secrets, if available to Google, could cause serious damage to PayPal. The mobile payments business is a rapid growing industry with huge potential. Any key-technologies lost to competitors may end in bankruptcy. If Bedier has done so, in my opinion there is no doubt that he has stolen knowledge.
On the other hand, Google insists it has developed its own system. Paying by mobile phone is already possible in Japan and mobile phones do not leave a lot of space regarding the technology that turns them into a wallet.
Joint Product failed
Of course those who believe PayPal is right argue that both companies were working closely together within the last 3 years to implement PayPal into Android. When negotiations failed Bedier changed fronts and gave Google Wallet live. He must have taken know-how to Google.
But in contrast, what is wrong with taking know-how or simply experience to another employer? It seems like PayPal did not offer the possibilities Bedier desired, though he was capable of achieving more. In signing a contract with google he saw a chance to improve his career and to rather use his capacities than throw them away.
Yinka Adegoke of Reuters, New York tells that Bedier actually should have never ended up with Google. A clause in Stephanie Tilenius’s (former eBay and PayPal executive) contract stated, that she’s not allowed to recruit former colleagues if she changes the firm. Tilenius was now sued as being the one that piloted Bedier from PayPal to Google. In this case we’ve got a contract breach and I think definitely a business fraud.
So where to draw the Line?
In my point of view, Bedier did not necessarily committed in any crime. I mean if you wanna be successful and use your full potential you need support, so did Google. Moreover, if you work in the same branch, people might have the same way of reaching a target, which is not inevitably plagiarism. To judge this case is fairly difficult, however, to refer to a previous post of mine (Same, same… but different!?)
“The honor belongs to the inventor, to the creative head and not to the lazy bastard.“
And if PayPal can proof to be the owner, Google Wallet is a lie. Let’s see how the trial is gonna end up.