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September 7, 1988

MOTOROLA SUES DEFECTING 88000 DESIGNERS, CYPRESS

By CBR Staff Writer

It’s all very well flacks pouring gallons of oil on troubled water as Motorola’s man did last week over the defection of 88000 RISC designer Roger Ross and three of his team (CI No 1,006), but they tend to look a little stupid when the company almost simultaneously launches a swingeing lawsuit against the defectors. Ross has formed a new company, Ross Technology Inc, in Austin, Texas with three of the 88000 RISC team and another Motorola manager, and the new company has agreed to give Cypress Semiconductor Corp, San Jose a majority shareholding in return for it injecting the group working on the Cypress version of the Sun Microsystems Sparc rival to the 88000 into the new company. Motorola alleges that Ross and his friends have proprietary marketing as well as full technical details of the 88000 andaccuses them of conspiring to use the data. Ross says he quit because he wanted to work for a small company, and chose the Sparc because it is freely licensed where the 88000 is protected – and notes that as the Sparc is fully specified and is incompatible with the 88000, it would be hard for him to use any trade secrets. Motorola was prepared to settle without litigation only if they agreed not to work on any modern computer architecture for 18 months; Motorola is seeking temporary and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages in the suit, the case comes up next week.

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