HP Sues Former CEO Over Oracle Gig (Read the Complaint)
Filed Tuesday in a California state court, the suit accuses HP’s recently ousted CEO of breach of contract and threatened misappropriation of trade secrets for accepting a position as co-president at rival Oracle. At the center of the suit: Hurd’s massive severance package and its confidentiality provision, which prevents him from discussing company secrets. Also figuring prominently: His failure to notify HP (HPQ) of his new job at Oracle (ORCL).
“In his new position, Hurd will be in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information to others….Accordingly, HP seeks immediate injunctive relief to protect its trade secrets and confidential information from Hurd’s threatened misappropriation….HP [also] seeks an order requiring Hurd to provide HP with written notification and further information concerning Hurd’s new position with Oracle pursuant to his trade secret protection agreements with HP. Hurd’s failure to provide such notice before it was publicly announced by Oracle gives rise to reasonable inference that he is violating his trade secret protection agreements with HP.”
Essentially, HP is saying that it would be impossible for Hurd to serve as Oracle’s co-president without taking advantage of his intimate knowledge of HP (and that his failure to advise HP of the scope of his new job, as seemingly required by his employment agreement, is evidence that he knows there’s a problem).
“Mark Hurd agreed to and signed agreements designed to protect HP’s trade secrets and confidential information,” said an HP spokesperson. “HP intends to enforce those agreements.”