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Home » Hacking News » Microsoft wins a restraint order against Google

Microsoft wins a restraint order against Google

by Nikola Strahija on August 1st, 2005 Microsoft has won the first battle in its legal war against Google, with a restraining order that prevents Kai-Fu Lee, a former Microsoft employee, from doing any competing work at the search company.

The software company is suing to prevent Dr Kai-Fu Lee from taking work with Google that would compete with Microsoft's search engine strategy in China. Lee was formerly a vice president in charge of Microsoft's Beijing research and development centre. Lee's work with Microsoft included search, speech recognition and other interactive technologies, and he was also privy to Microsoft's China strategy at a high level, according to the company.

Microsoft argues that work for a competitor is prohibited by the terms of Lee's contract. It also says Lee could reveal trade secrets to Google. Google hired Lee to be the president of its China operations. The search company is planning to open a Chinese research and development centre later this year.

The restraining order prohibits Lee from accepting employment from Google in specific areas, and prohibits Google from employing Lee in those areas. The prohibited work includes any activities "competitive with any product, service or project... on which he worked while employed at Microsoft", including "computer search technologies... natural language processing or speech technologies", the court order said. Lee is also enjoined from work involving "business strategies, planning or development with respect to the Chinese market for computer search technologies".

Google and Lee are enjoined from disclosing or using Microsoft trade secrets or other confidential or proprietary information obtained in connection with Lee's employment at Microsoft. Lee is specifically not allowed to solicit, encourage, or attempt to induce Microsoft employees to leave the company and work for any competitor, including Google.
Finally, Lee and Google are required to return to Microsoft any documents they may have in connection with Lee's work for Microsoft, and can't destroy any documents related to Lee's work for Microsoft or Google.

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