Microsoft Corp. claimed victory in court yesterday as a judge ruled that former Microsoft executive Dr. Kai-fu Lee, at least temporarily, may not begin his duties at rival search company Google Inc.
Microsoft claims Lee’s defection to Google is in violation of a non-compete agreement as Lee has intimate knowledge of the software giant’s business strategy.
The temporary restraining order was granted by Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez barring Lee from working on any Google product, service, or project similar to those he was involved with at Microsoft. Google requested a specific list of tasks, to be delivered Monday, that Lee can and cannot perform.
The restraining order will stand until September 6, when the court will decide on a more permanent injunction that could restrict Lee’s work at Google until the case goes to trial.
"We felt we needed to take this step to protect our sensitive business information and to ensure that Google and Dr. Lee honor the confidentiality and noncompetition agreements he made when he started working here," said Micosoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said.
The Google gang has contended all along the case is “without merit,” and Microsoft’s retaliation toward them is little more than an attempt at scaring their employees.
"We are confident that once the judge has done so he will side with Google and Dr. Lee. Microsoft will not prevail in their intimidation campaign," said Google attorney Nicole Wong.
The trial is set for January 9.