Amazon sues former employee after he leaves for Google

The company alleges that employee, who worked for Amazon Web Services, violated an agreement that kept him from drumming up businesses from AWS customers for more than a year after his departure.

amazonwebservice.jpg
Amazon Web Services

Amazon is suing a former Amazon Web Services manager who left the cloud computing unit to work for Google's competing service.

The e-commerce giant alleged that Zoltan Szabadi, once a strategic partnerships manager for AWS, has violated a non-compete agreement he signed when he first started working for Amazon, according to a case document (see PDF below) published by GeekWire on Monday.

Tech companies have increasingly required employees to sign non-compete agreements in hopes of saving their trade secrets from competitors for as long as possible. Amazon is seeking an injunction to stop Szabadi from "engaging in any activities that directly or indirectly support" any operations at his new job, according to the document.

Amazon did not immediately respond for a request for comment. Google declined to comment.

Amazon said Szabadi, who left the company in May after nearly six years, can't solicit business from any of his former customers for 18 months after his departure. He joined Google as a lead for the reseller ecosystem team in May.

In response, Szabadi's lawyer told Amazon that Szabadi has also signed an agreement with Google, vowing not to do business with any AWS clients that he remembers having "material direct contact" with, or that he knows "confidential information" about, according to the court document. The agreement is in effect for six months.

Google is not backing down and is planning a strong defense for the suit. said a person familiar with the company's strategy.

Amazon is arguing that Szabadi's new role is equal to the one at AWS, so interaction with former clients "will necessarily involve direct and/or indirect competition with Amazon...and will therefore breach the noncompetitive agreement and threaten disclosure of Amazon's highly confidential information."

Amazon filed a similar suit in 2012. The company sued a former AWS vice president for alledgedly violating his non-compete contract, but a judge declined to enforce most of Amazon's agreement.

CNET's Rich Nieva contributed to this report.

Amazon v. Szabadi

 

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