Google Countersuit Taken Out of Googleplex Backyard
Understandably, Microsoft is playing hardball with Google’s countersuit regarding the legitimacy Kai-Fu Lee’s non-compete agreement by working to disallow Google a home field advantage in California court. California laws do not recognize non-compete agreements, which is the basis for the countersuit, and Microsoft has asked that the case be taken up by a federal court instead.
Last month, Google requested that a California judge invalidate Lee’s contract with Microsoft based oin California law.
Microsoft countered with a filing in US District Court for the Northern District of California requesting a change of venue because the very nature of the case, being an interstate dispute between companies, warranted a federal hearing.
A change in venue would be a victory for Microsoft, legal experts say, as California political pressures will taken out of the picture with regard to judge selection and jurors would be pooled from an area larger than Santa Clara County, where Google runs its operations.
The legal battle hasn’t gone so well for Google so far. The change in venue for their countersuit only compounds the fact that Dr. Lee was barred from working at the search engine’s Chinese research and development leg until at least September by a Washington judge.
On September 6th, the King County Washington court will decide whether to extend that prohibition until or after the trial begins in January.