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Originally published July 1, 2014 at 7:03 PM | Page modified July 2, 2014 at 5:14 PM

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Amazon sues after ex-worker takes Google job

The online retailer says a former employee in its Web-services operation should have to comply with a noncompetition agreement. The employee responds by saying the agreement is excessive.


Seattle Times business reporter

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Amazon.com has sued a former employee who left the company and went to work at Google, claiming he violated a noncompete agreement.

Zoltan Szabadi left a business-development position in Amazon Web Services in May to take a similar position, partner reseller ecosystem manager, at Google Cloud Platform, according to documents filed last week in King County Superior Court. In his position, Szabadi was privy to Amazon’s cloud-computing trade secrets and other confidential information, Amazon said in its suit.

When Szabadi started at Amazon in 2008, the suit said, he signed a confidentiality and noncompetition agreement stipulating he would not share trade secrets or confidential information with competing firms. The agreement also stated that if he left Amazon he could not do business with anyone he worked with at Amazon for 12 months and could not work for a competitor for 18 months, the suit said.

“Due to his roles at Amazon and Google, Szabadi has breached or will imminently and inevitably breach his duty of confidence by taking, using and disclosing the trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information belonging to Amazon and by using such information on behalf of Google,” Amazon said in the suit.

A source familiar with the situation said Google intends to vigorously defend Szabadi and the claims.

On Monday, Szabadi’s lawyer responded to the suit by contending that although Szabadi did sign a noncompete agreement, he would use only his general knowledge and skills in sales at Google and would not be in a position to use any confidential information he had access to at Amazon.

Szabadi’s response also said he believes Amazon’s confidentiality and noncompete agreements are an unlawful business practice.

The “restrictive covenants in Amazon’s form agreement,” the response said, are excessive and overbroad.

In the lawsuit, Amazon is asking the court to compel Szabadi to honor the noncompete agreement, keep him from divulging confidential information, stop him from having any contact with Google’s cloud-computing business for 18 months, bar him from soliciting or accepting work from cloud-computing businesses for 18 months and stop him from entering into business agreements with any of Amazon’s partners for 18 months.

Brandon Brown: 206-464-2164 or brbrown@seattletimes.com



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