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RIM sues Motorola

Staff, not patents, this time

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Research in Motion is suing Motorola for not allowing laid-off employees to seek work with the owner of the Blackberry brand, who is hoping to scoop up some cheap engineers now that Motorola is shedding so many.

The two companies signed an agreement, back in February, to prevent either company from pinching staff from the other - they were not permitted to solicit staff, or offer work to the recently-ex-employed. But that was before Motorola started shedding staff like it was going out of fashion, and now RIM reckons that agreement expired in August and has asked a Chicago court to endorse that opinion.

RIM accuses Motorola of preventing employees from joining RIM, even as they are being shown the door - leading to a claim of unfair competition for which RIM is seeking unspecified damages.

Just before Christmas Motorola announced they would be laying off another 400 staff, in addition to the fifteen hundred announced in October. From what we understand of what's going on in Motorola: anyone who knows Android is OK, and the company is still employing Android experts, but the rest of the engineering team is up against the wall.

Working for the competition is always tricky, given the non-disclosure agreements employees are expected to sign, but most civilised countries recognise that specialists have a limited number of potential employers and that their right to work should be protected above commercial interests.

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