Microsoft and Google Settle Kai-Fu Lee Case

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Remember how Microsoft sued Google for ‘stealing’ employee Kai-Fu Lee? And then when a court ruled in a preliminary ruling, essentially against Microsoft, saying that “Microsoft has not sufficiently shown that it has a clear legal or equitable right to enjoin Dr. Lee…”, Microsoft issued a challenge to Google, warning them to settle? And how I advised that Google should settle, even though they might well ‘win’ in court?

Well, apparently they listened to me. Ok, maybe they don’t read the Internet Patrol (well they should!), but in any event, they have reached a settlement.


With the terms of the settlement confidential, Microsoft has only been able to say “The parties have entered into a private agreement that resolves all issues to their mutual satisfaction. The terms of the agreement are confidential and all parties have agreed to make no other statements to the media regarding it.”

According to Google, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee is “pleased with the terms of the settlement.”

Dr. Lee, who is now President of engineering, product and public affairs for Google China, was originally hired to head Google’s new research lab in China. At the time, Microsoft explained that “Accepting such a position with a direct Microsoft competitor like Google violates the narrow noncompetition promise Lee made when he was hired as an executive.”

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A restraining order issued by the court in September prohibited Dr. Lee from working on anything at Google which required “using the confidential knowledge he gained or developed while working at Microsoft, particularly as relates to search, speech recognition, and natural language processing.”

Whether he is now free to use that knowledge under the terms of the confidential settlement is anyone’s guess, but of course you can’t really restrict the creative process which goes on inside someone’s head.

Oh well, with both Google and Microsoft, and Sony BMG and the world, settling this week, I guess it’s back to old Judge Judy reruns for me.

 

Recommended Reading
Hard Drive : Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

The Google Story

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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