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Amazon settles case with former executive

The online retailer has dropped its case against a former executive who jumped ship to eBay - provided he meets certain demands
Written by Greg Sandoval, Contributor

Web retailer Amazon.com, which sued to prevent a former executive from jumping to eBay, has settled the case, the company said on Tuesday.

Attorneys for Amazon and Christopher Zyda, the e-tailer's former international chief financial officer, struck a deal that allows Zyda to work for eBay, but under several restrictions.

In September, Amazon filed suit in federal court arguing that by taking a job with a competitor, Zyda was violating his employment contract. In court documents, Amazon insisted that Zyda possessed extensive knowledge of the company's business strategy and there was a risk he could pass it to his new employers.

But two weeks after a US District Judge threw out Amazon's case on jurisdictional issues, Amazon agreed to drop its objection on the condition that Zyda delay going to work for eBay and that eBay restrict his duties as vice president in charge of financial planning. Amazon did not elaborate on what those restrictions included.

In addition, Amazon has the right to "verify Zyda's compliance with his ongoing obligations under the settlement," said Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith.

Calls to Zyda's attorney were not returned Tuesday evening. Smith said that Zyda can begin working at eBay on 3 December.

After the federal judge threw out Amazon's case, the company indicated that it would press its case in another court. The settlement, however, heads off another messy confrontation between Amazon and eBay.

Some analysts have noted that the two e-commerce powerhouses have increasingly stepped into each other's core businesses, which has sparked an intense rivalry. Amazon has its own auctions and in recent months eBay has swept into the fixed-price business.

When asked who the winner or loser of the case was, eBay spokesman Kevin Purslgove said: "We're very pleased to have Mr. Zyda coming to work at eBay."

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