Groupon sues ex-sales heads for defection to Google
E-coupon outfit frets over trade secrets
Soon-to-go-public online voucher site Groupon has thrown sueballs at two former workers of the company, over claims that the ex-sales managers had taken trade secrets to their new employer Google.
In a lawsuit filed with Cook Country, Illinois, Circuit Court, Chancery Division (Chicago), Groupon is seeking an injunction against the two men to prevent them passing on confidential information to Mountain View.
Michael Nolan and Brian Hanna, listed in the civil complaint first spotted by Bloomberg, quit Groupon in September to work on Google's rival Offers product.
“In their new positions with Google Offers and/or Google, Hanna and Nolan will provide the same or similar services as they provided at Groupon,” the firm grumbled.
It argued that the men would need “to employ confidential and proprietary information that they learned while employed at Groupon.”
Google, which failed in its $6m bid to buy Groupon late last year, isn't named in the lawsuit.
The Register asked Google to comment on this story, but it hadn't got back to us at time of writing. ®
Sounds generous IMO
If I'm right (which I'm probably not), non-competitive clauses aren't worth the paper they're written on.
That'll be your human rights to be able to earn a living... FWIW....
@UKForest you're not...
You have two issues.
'Right to Work' States where the employee has the right to work and utilize his skills.
This is being weighed against a company's right to protect their proprietary trade secrets.
Here's an example. Suppose you're a Java developer for Company A. You quit to go work for Company B as a Java Developer. Company B is a competitor. You have a non-compete contract that prohibits you from working for a set of specific companies for a period of time.
Unless Company B is specifically listed, you can work for them.
If Company B is listed, you may have to wait for your lockout time. (Which you were compensated for when you signed your non-compete contract) The reason this is legal is that your skill can also be applied at another company, lets call it Company C where you can also work as a Java Developer.
Now the higher up the food chain in an organization, the more proprietary knowledge you learn and the smaller the list of companies where you can go to work.
This is where it gets difficult to say what will happen. The courts have to balance your right to work against those of the company. So its possible that you can go to work for Company B where you are not in a position to advise or work in direct competition against Company A.
There's a lot of case history in Chicago.
It all depends on what was in the agreement and if its enforceable.
When Informix got borg'd by IBM, some employees got a retention package. In the agreement, there were two clauses. One said you couldn't go to work for any company that did business w IBM. (This clause is unenforceable.) The second clause specifically barred one from going to work at two named competitors. (This clause was enforceable.)