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Microsoft Sues Google - 7/20/2005 6:59:45 PM   
WinThusiast


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Redmond giant says Google is knowingly violating its trade secrets agreement with a former executive.
 
Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against a former executive and Google claiming the search giant knowingly hired someone with direct knowledge of its trade secrets.

The Redmond software giant is suing both the executive and Google for violating its non-compete agreement.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, the same day that Google announced the executive in question, Kai-Fu Lee, would lead Google’s first research and development center in China.

“We are asking the Court to require Dr. Lee and Google to honor the confidentiality and non-competition agreements he signed when he began working for Microsoft,” said Microsoft in announcing the lawsuit.

Privy to Secrets

At the time of his departure from Microsoft, Dr. Lee was the vice president of Microsoft’s Natural Interactive Services division, but he held a number of positions at the company. Microsoft charges that he was privy to the company’s trade secrets “concerning search technologies and China business strategies.”

Microsoft said Dr. Lee accepted a job at a competitive firm focused on the “same set of technologies and strategies for a direct competitor in egregious violation of his explicit contractual obligations.”

In its announcement of Dr. Lee’s hiring, Google acknowledges the fact that he founded Microsoft Research China, but dated that work to the late 1990s. Google emphasizes that Dr. Lee is widely known for his pioneering work in the areas of speech recognition and artificial intelligence.

Google’s China R&D center, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2005, will give Google a beachhead in the Chinese talent pool and will allow the company to take advantage of international business opportunities in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

“It has always been my goal to make advanced technologies accessible and useful to every user, as well as to be part of the vibrant growth and innovation in China today,” said Dr. Lee. “Joining Google uniquely enables me to pursue both of my passions and I look forward to returning to China to begin this exciting endeavor.” 

Prior to joining Microsoft, Dr. Lee was a vice president and general manager at Silicon Graphics, responsible for Internet and multimedia software. Dr. Lee also spent six years at Apple, serving as vice president of the company’s interactive media group, and before that was an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University. 
 

Source : RedHerring
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