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September 8, 2010

HP takes Hurd to court to block him joining Oracle

HP files civil suit in California Superior Court

By Jason Stamper

In response to the news of Mark Hurd’s intention to join Oracle, HP has filed a civil complaint in the California Superior Court (County of Santa Clara) against Hurd.

Mark Hurd, HP’s former chairman, president and CEO who left the company under a cloud after an allegation of sexual harassment and questions over his expense claims, has announced that he intends to take a position with Oracle as a president and member of its board of directors. Hurd and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison are known to be good friends and tennis partners, and Ellison blasted HP’s decision to oust Hurd as the worst decision since Apple got rid of Steve Jobs (Jobs returned to the firm some time later).

Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd

But saying that this would put its trade secrets at risk, HP is attempting to block the move in court — a strategy that some observers are already saying is highly unlikely to succeed, not least because a ruling in HP’s favour would effectively make it almost impossible for Hurd to work in the technology industry again.

Here’s an excerpt from HP’s statement on the matter:

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"Despite being paid millions of dollars in cash, stock and stock options in exchange for Hurd’s agreements to protect HP’s trade secrets and confidential information during his employment and following his departure from his positions at HP as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President, HP is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Hurd has put HP’s most valuable trade secrets and confidential information in peril. Hurd accepted positions with Oracle Corporation ("Oracle"), a competitor of HP, yesterday as its President and as a member of its Board of Directors. In his new positions, 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."

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