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He tried to leave ahead of time despite his contract

Poaching is a common practice in the tech sector, where one company will recognize the talent of an employee at another and attempt to make that person a better offer. This recently happened when a tech executive tried leaving the withered and dying field of BlackBerry bushes in Waterloo, Ontario in favor of the healthy and prospering Apple orchard in Cupertino. But it's not clear if the poach attempt will ever be successful after a recent court ruling.

According to iMore, Apple tried to poach BlackBerry SVP of Software Sebastien Marineau-Mes, but Marineau-Mes' contract with BlackBerry got in the way. 

Marineau-Mes started talking about leaving Apple back in September 2013, and after formally being offered the position of Vice President of Core OS in December, Marineau-Mes accepted and signed a contract with Apple. 

He put in his resignation with BlackBerry on December 23 with a two-month notice, but there was one major problem: Marineau-Mes' contract said he had to give six-months notice if he were to resign.

Marineau-Mes signed the contract for a promotion to BlackBerry EVP of Platform Development on September 27, 2013 -- around the same time he was in talks with Apple. 

As a result, BlackBerry took Marineau-Mes to court over the matter.


Sebastien Marineau-Mes [SOURCE: Apple Insider]

The ruling was just handed down from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which decided that Marineau-Mes must fulfill a full six-month resignation before he can leave BlackBerry -- meaning he wouldn't be able to go to Apple until June 2014. 

This likely hurts for Marineau-Mes, but probably more so for BlackBerry. The Canadian company had Marineau-Mes sign that September contract as a promotion during a time when the company was in a promotional freeze (meaning promotions were put on hold, unless it was for someone they really wanted to hold onto).

"BlackBerry will not stand by while a former employee violates his employment contract," said BlackBerry. "It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honor the agreements they make with us. When we enter into an agreement with an employee, as we have with Mr. Marineau, we expect him to honor his commitment just as he would expect that we will honor ours. We are pleased that the court has endorsed our position and ruled that the employee contract and its terms are valid."

It's unclear if Apple will wait until June for Marineau-Mes.

Apple and BlackBerry aren't the only poachers in the tech realm. In December 2013, one of Microsoft's top executives in charge of graphics -- Blaise Agüera y Arcas -- left Microsoft for Google's machine learning group.

Source: iMore



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By sigmatau on 3/26/2014 7:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe the non compete clause will hold up in court. IBM sure didn't when they settled with one of their employees that went to Apple. Look up IBM v. Papermaster.

IBM's argument was that Papermaster would disclose trade secrets to Apple. They were trying to force him not to work in his field for a whole year before joining Apple. Basically, they thought it was right for him to be unemployed for a year before he joined another company in his field of work.

Not only did IBM settle with Papermaster, the court ordered that they pay him $3 million for his loss of potential employment opportunity. The court did order a trial as they did see IBM's potential to lose trade secrets, but it was IBM that settled with Papermaster as they apparently knew how weak their case was.


By retrospooty on 3/27/2014 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
It depends entirely on the contract signed and how airtight it is... Obviously IBM's wasnt... Papermaster worked at IBM from 1982–2008, so it was likely created and signed decades ago. It's a more standardized thing now.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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