Google Inc.’s ambitious plan to supplant credit cards with smartphones has thrust the Internet search leader into a legal tussle with online payment pioneer PayPal, which contends Google stole its ideas by hiring away two key executives.
PayPal painted a picture of betrayal and corporate espionage in a lawsuit filed in a California court, shortly after the unveiling of the Google Wallet payment service in New York Thursday. The 28-page complaint alleges the service evolved from research that eBay Inc.’s PayPal had been working on for the past decade.
PayPal fingers two central culprits in the intellectual heist — one of its former executives, Osama Bedier, and former eBay executive Stephanie Tilenius.
In its response Friday, Google contends it merely identified talented candidates to run its mobile payments service and made them offers that proved too tempting to refuse.
The civil complaint alleges Google spent more than two years discussing a partnership that would have relied on PayPal to process payments for an application market set up for Google’s mobile phone software, Android.
Google cut off the Android talks earlier this year after it had poached enough PayPal employees to set up its own mobile payments service, according to the suit. The suit doesn’t directly connect the application markets system with the technology behind Google Wallet.