BuySAFE Sues Google for Patent Infringement
By Ina Steiner
BuySAFE is suing Google, claiming that the new Google Trusted Stores program infringes BuySAFE's patent. It's not the first time the company filed a lawsuit against an Internet giant - in 2006, BuySAFE filed a lawsuit against eBay for trademark infringement.
BuySAFE helps merchants increase conversion rates by addressing three primary concerns of online shoppers, and its 3-in-1 Guarantee includes $10,000 Identity Theft Protection; a $1,000 Purchase Guarantee; and a $100 Lowest Price Guarantee - if the retailer drops the price after the consumer has purchased the item, BuySAFE pays the difference.
BuySAFE had filed its patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 23, 2003, long before Google branched out into providing services to online retailers and years before it hired former eBay executive Stephanie Tilenius to head its ecommerce initiative. The USPTO awarded BuySAFE its patent on January 5, 2010.
BuySAFE filed its complaint against Google in December 2011 alleging that Google had exploited discussions the two companies had engaged in about a possible joint venture or partnership. It alleged Google had obtained access to BuySAFE's proprietary information by hiring the former executive of a BuySAFE customer who had pressed BuySAFE about its business before joining Google as its Group Product Manager for Google Trusted Stores.
BuySAFE was founded in 2003 to help eBay sellers increase trust by guaranteeing transactions through a bond. Like other third-party vendors, the company found eBay to be a difficult partner. In 2006, BuySAFE sued eBay claiming its new "Buy safely" section on the View Item page caused shoppers to confuse it with BuySafe seal, also displayed on Item pages and which guaranteed its merchants' bonded items for up to $25,000.
BuySAFE branched out to other ecommerce venues to decrease its reliance on eBay and integrated with major shopping carts and ecommerce platforms - including eBay's recently acquired Magento.
Now the smaller company finds itself again battling with another Internet giant. And it's not the first time Google has been accused of using hiring practices to gain proprietary information from competitors. In May, eBay's PayPal unit filed a lawsuit against Google, Stephanie Tilenius and former PayPal executive Osama Bedier, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets; breach of contract; intentional interference with contractual relations; breach of fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty; and other allegations.
BuySAFE's complaint against Google can be found on Priorsmart.com.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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