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Experts: HP/Hurd Suit Won't Stand Up in Court

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 21 comments

HP may not be able to stop former CEO Mark Hurd from taking a job as co-president of Oracle.

Earlier this week, HP filed suit against Mark Hurd over his new job at Oracle. The company claims that as CEO of HP, Hurd was privy to all kinds of trade secrets and says these will be at risk if he takes up position as co-president of Oracle. However, experts say HP is unlikely to be successful in its endeavours.

California law doesn't favor non-compete agreements, but HP yesterday highlighted the amount of cash, stock and stock options given to Hurd in exchange for protecting trade secrets and said it would be impossible for him to work at Oracle without revealing trade secrets. Late last night law experts were saying HP's suit is a long shot.

Bloomberg cites Mark Lemley, a professor at Standford Law School who specializes in intellectual property, who says HP's argument that trade secrets will be eventually disclosed won't work in California.

"Neither will California courts enforce a noncompete agreement," Lemley continued. "HP will have to show real evidence that Mark Hurd is about to use its secrets at Oracle."

Frederick Baron, chair of the employment and labor practice at Cooley LLP, told Bloomberg that HP will have an 'uphill climb' if it wants to stop Hurd taking the job at Oracle.

"The inevitable use doctrine has been argued around the country, but it is not well established in California or in many jurisdictions," Baron said.

"Oracle is assuming Mark Hurd can do his job based on his general know-how and talents."

Stephen Hirschfeld, a partner at Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP in San Francisco added:

"In this state, you can do pretty much whatever you bloody well want unless you compete with me unfairly."

Oracle announced the arrival of Mark Hurd late on Monday. Hurd is to join the company as co-president alongside current president Safra Catz. He left HP amid sexual harassment allegations. An investigation revealed that he had not violated HP's sexual harassment code, but found he fudged expense reports to cover up a relationship with a female contractor.

Source: Bloomberg

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  • -8 Hide
    twu , September 9, 2010 10:25 PM
    Old news.
  • 2 Hide
    stm1185 , September 9, 2010 10:53 PM
    Lawsuits are the yelling matches of rich people. They dont expect it to actually come to anything, they just want to rage.
  • -4 Hide
    HavoCnMe , September 9, 2010 11:10 PM
    Where are all the Judicial HP Fanboys?
  • 0 Hide
    freiheitner , September 9, 2010 11:28 PM
    What I want to know is, who actually has enough faith in the CEO of any major company (possibly barring Apple where Steve Jobs literally runs the show) that the CEO would even know what their company actually does? Golf practice is not a trade secret.
  • 3 Hide
    Onus , September 10, 2010 1:08 AM
    I still want to know why Oracle would hire someone known to be dishonest, particularly for a senior position.
  • 7 Hide
    jossrik , September 10, 2010 1:43 AM
    Quote:
    I still want to know why Oracle would hire someone known to be dishonest, particularly for a senior position.



    When it comes down to it, dishonesty is the second best policy.
  • 0 Hide
    NeeKo , September 10, 2010 1:45 AM
    @jtt283 , He might be dishonest but dont forget how he brought HP to where they are now. All the "expenses" he might fake are nothing compared to the gains he can give to Oracle.

    @People from the other reports talking about oracle fools and bla bla bla, in your face.
  • -1 Hide
    LORD_ORION , September 10, 2010 2:56 AM
    You know, for some reason, the safety record of single engine aircraft just crossed my mind.
  • -2 Hide
    beachbod , September 10, 2010 5:40 AM
    jtt283I still want to know why Oracle would hire someone known to be dishonest, particularly for a senior position.

    Thats the million dollar question. I think they hired him mainly for his knowledge of HP. Had he had an amnesia I dont think they would have hired him.
  • 0 Hide
    jsc , September 10, 2010 6:35 AM
    "An investigation revealed that he had not violated HP's sexual harassment code,"
    That was what they wanted to nail him on, but couldn't prove.

    "but found he fudged expense reports to cover up a relationship with a female contractor."
    This was HP's excuse for firing him.

    You can go through any CEO expense reports and find either deliberate or accidental mistakes.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 10, 2010 9:07 AM
    I smell a Turd stinking up Oracle! /sarcasm.

    I like Oracle's products and I was even certified in the 8i DB. I usually prefer their DB to that of MS. It kind make me sad because Hurd complete destroyed HP's morale when he was there and he may do the same at Oracle. At the end of the day it is your employees that are your most important asset and their know how. I suspect some of the quality control problems HP has been having with certain notebook computer is employees no longer giving a crap because they hate the place they work. Would be a shame if Oracle's started suffering significant quality control problems.
  • -1 Hide
    alyoshka , September 10, 2010 12:01 PM
    Cases, cases, cases, more of em.... everywhere.... funny but according to the NDA and all the stuff that's coming up here and there, it seems to me, that a once employed welder will need to take up a job as a carpenter cos his earlier company feels he might divulge the secrets of his technique.... good or bad.... whatever they maybe, but looking at this whole thing really makes me wonder... where does all this waste of time energy and money end??
    We talk about free markets, free trade and bitch about the whole thing in our courts when someone does try to do it..... funny. or actually Tragic...
    Hypocrisy happens to be in one of the genes of the Homo Sapien Sapien, and I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrows Scientific Journal, proves this....
  • -1 Hide
    alyoshka , September 10, 2010 12:06 PM
    And actually they just hired him, cos he was qualified so, had the experience and knew the market strategy HP is going to have ..... Elite corporate clientele etc etc. Basically, I don't think he knows what or how the RAM works, cos it's not his job, his job is basically milking the markets.... which I believe he must have been very good at, since every idiot in every corporate office here has a HP desktop at work, a HP desktop at home and a HP laptop for fun....
    I don't know how they could use the crap, but it's something you get free with the job so....... that's the market I guess, Oracle is after..... it's called the Number Game
  • -1 Hide
    alyoshka , September 10, 2010 12:09 PM
    jtt283I still want to know why Oracle would hire someone known to be dishonest, particularly for a senior position.

    LOL.... which part of the world did this come from, you really don't have a clue how the Corporates work if that is still a question.....
    The more conniving, deceiving and Shylock type they are , the higher they stand on the Corps tree, and the more sort after they are even with all the scams and the cases
  • -1 Hide
    spectrewind , September 10, 2010 2:58 PM
    jtt283I still want to know why Oracle would hire someone known to be dishonest, particularly for a senior position.


    He interviewed well and large corporations do things this way...

    My boss seems to be cut from the same fabric as this guy. A spreadsheet and financing idiot that moves with the grace of a sledge hammer.

    Since my manager is only the controlling one location, has only been able to anger, oh, everyone colleague and customer alike, in that location.

    Seems similar...
  • -1 Hide
    Stifle , September 10, 2010 3:31 PM
    Seems like Oracle is buying more than just the man based on his track record.
  • -2 Hide
    rolled , September 10, 2010 3:34 PM
    HP needs to calm down
  • -2 Hide
    powerbaselx , September 10, 2010 4:11 PM
    beachbodThats the million dollar question. I think they hired him mainly for his knowledge of HP. Had he had an amnesia I dont think they would have hired him.


    I think most people aren't seeing it in the proper order...
    1) Actually Dull must have negotiate first with Oracle to get out of HP and move to Oracle. (remember Oracle bought Sun and want to be the next IT giant such as IBM ou HP).
    2) Then probably he presented his dismissal from HP and communicated he was going to work for Oracle.
    3) He didn't negotiate with HP the resign letter, the confidentiality agreement and lots of money for his silence as it is usual in these cases.
    4) HP board must have got mad with the possibility of Hurd take with him ALL the HP stratagy and HP market intelligence and make Oracle grow faster than expected.
    5) So HP investigated and used this sexual arassememt thing to make a very bad image of Hull in the market and the companies.

    Another thing HP is doing is asking a court to forbid Oracle to employ Dull with the justification he can take all HP secrets to Oracle. And this is a real and severe problem for HP besides all the other current problems: can't really grow its services marketshare even with EDS aquisition, top leadership crisys after crysis, uncertainty in the future of its top-class Itanium servers with Microsoft dropping Windows development for this platform, Cisco and Oracle broken partnership, IBM getting the spotlights and increasing the confidence of main investors on the EPS commitment year after year, Cisco going into server market, Oracle going IT end-to-end, ....

    My 2 cents in enterprise market analysis.
  • 0 Hide
    powerbaselx , September 10, 2010 4:17 PM
    It's not Dull... It's Hurd! :-)

    Wrong person reference!
  • -1 Hide
    powerbaselx , September 10, 2010 4:38 PM
    And then also this problem:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/10/hp_bribe_sec/

    "Now SEC piles into HP bribery probe"

    "HP is facing a widened bribery investigation by the Department of Justice and US financial regulators, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals."

    Many black clouds over HP nowadays... too many errors?
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