August 9, 2005 6:25 PM PDT

Google countersuit moves to federal court

In a likely effort to remove local bias in favor of Google, Microsoft is attempting to shift Google's countersuit in the Kai-Fu Lee case from a California court to federal court.

A July 29 court filing by Microsoft technically means the case has moved to federal court. But Google can still ask a federal judge to let the case surrounding the ex-Microsoft executive proceed in state court, according to a legal expert.

Late last month, Microsoft filed to switch to federal court Google's request that a California judge invalidate Microsoft's noncompete agreement with Lee, who was hired by Google to head its China operations. In its filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Microsoft argued that the dispute qualifies as a federal case in part because the two companies are based in different states.

Microsoft may be seeking to reduce the possibility that pro-Google sentiment in Santa Clara County would influence the state court, said another attorney who's followed the case. Federal judges are not elected, and potential jurors for the federal court located in San Jose, Calif., would hail from a wider geography, he said. Google is based in Mountain View, Calif., a city in Santa Clara County.

Neither Microsoft nor Google immediately responded to requests for comment. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)

The change in court venue adds another twist to a bitter and legally complex dispute between two of the tech world's biggest players.

After Google announced Lee would lead its Chinese operations last month, Microsoft sued both of them in a Washington state court. Microsoft claimed Lee was violating a noncompete clause of his employment agreement in accepting his new job.

A Washington judge has ruled that until at least September, Lee cannot perform work at Google that competes with what he did at Microsoft--including planning for the Chinese search market.

With its California request, Google appeared to be trying to take advantage of a state rule that frowns on noncompete contract clauses.

12 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Microsoft plays dirty in or out of court, whats new
at least one company has big enough "stones" to take on the
sorry Microsuckers in Redmond WA, the last hope Bill Gates has
is to use the courts to try to keep Winblows off the slippery
slope of irrelevance. Of course they have no interest in bagging
the "old code" and building a real OS from scratch, with features
they invented, rather than ripped off ideas they keep bolting
onto a bloated kernal, with 22,000 developers giving their ideas
of what, great, secure code is. Or rather isn't. It will serve Billy
boy well to stay up at night and study google and Apple for
ideas, and learn how to copy them better without resorting to
lame legal attempts to hamstring the courts, like he and Ballmer
have hamstrung corporate and personal computer users for the
last 20 years. Just like cigarettes and alcohol, both have warning
stickers to attempt to help the poor souls who buy them, like
MSFT junk, their OS should come with a danger symbol on it. But
I digress. Heres to google smacking MS up side the head.
Posted by educateme (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft plays dirty in or out of court, whats new
at least one company has big enough "stones" to take on the
sorry Microsuckers in Redmond WA, the last hope Bill Gates has
is to use the courts to try to keep Winblows off the slippery
slope of irrelevance. Of course they have no interest in bagging
the "old code" and building a real OS from scratch, with features
they invented, rather than ripped off ideas they keep bolting
onto a bloated kernal, with 22,000 developers giving their ideas
of what, great, secure code is. Or rather isn't. It will serve Billy
boy well to stay up at night and study google and Apple for
ideas, and learn how to copy them better without resorting to
lame legal attempts to hamstring the courts, like he and Ballmer
have hamstrung corporate and personal computer users for the
last 20 years. Just like cigarettes and alcohol, both have warning
stickers to attempt to help the poor souls who buy them, like
MSFT junk, their OS should come with a danger symbol on it. But
I digress. Heres to google smacking MS up side the head.
Posted by educateme (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How is a Motion to Transfer Venue news?
It is filed by the defense in 99% of all civil cases for various reasons,
including the fact that federal judgments are generally much lower
than state judgments.
Posted by bbatsell (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simple... State vs Federal Laws..
In a state court, the California State law applies which nullifies the non-compete agreement.

This is what Microsoft is trying to avoid.

Non Competes are so much fun, and vary from state to state. You need a lawyer to talk about all the complexities.
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Link Flag
How is a Motion to Transfer Venue news?
It is filed by the defense in 99% of all civil cases for various reasons,
including the fact that federal judgments are generally much lower
than state judgments.
Posted by bbatsell (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simple... State vs Federal Laws..
In a state court, the California State law applies which nullifies the non-compete agreement.

This is what Microsoft is trying to avoid.

Non Competes are so much fun, and vary from state to state. You need a lawyer to talk about all the complexities.
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Link Flag
microsoft..
related post that need to know..about MS

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/zoneh-linux-and-windows-which-is-more.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/zoneh-linux-and-windows-which-is-more.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-how-open-source-grew.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-how-open-source-grew.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-open-source-vs-proprietary.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-open-source-vs-proprietary.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-next-gen-windows-vista.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-next-gen-windows-vista.html</a>
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
anything
but another blog. Put links to something else
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
microsoft..
related post that need to know..about MS

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/zoneh-linux-and-windows-which-is-more.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/zoneh-linux-and-windows-which-is-more.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-how-open-source-grew.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-how-open-source-grew.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-open-source-vs-proprietary.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-open-source-vs-proprietary.html</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-next-gen-windows-vista.html" target="_newWindow">http://errortest.blogspot.com/2005/07/big-impact-next-gen-windows-vista.html</a>
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
anything
but another blog. Put links to something else
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.