HP Sues Hurd Over Oracle Gig

Hewlett Packard filed a lawsuit against its former CEO Mark Hurd for taking a new job as president at Oracle. The PC and printer maker alleged in its filing that Mr. Hurd is violating his contract by joining the Oracle team, and that there’s no way he can avoid divulging trade secrets at his new job.

Mr. Hurd lost his job as CEO at HP following sexual harassment allegations. The company’s own investigation ultimately cleared him the claim, although it did rule that he violated the company’s business conduct policies.

Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, saw HP’s move as a big mistake and took advantage of the situation by offering Mr. Hurd a job as president along with a position on the Board of Directors. “Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle,” he said.

HP, however, thinks Mr. Hurd can’t work for Oracle — or any other companies it sees as competitors. According to the complaint filed in Superior Court in Santa Clara, California, Mr. Hurd signed an agreement to keep HP’s trade secrets private, and that he agreed to those terms again when he signed for his severance package.

“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… HP is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Hurd has put HP’s most valuable trade secrets and confidential information in peril,” the lawsuit claims.

HP is asking the court to block Mr. Hurd from working at Oracle, or any other HP competitor. Since Oracle most likely anticipated a lawsuit from HP, there’s a good chance the company already has its legal defense in place and is ready for what could be a drawn out legal battle.