THQ in Legal Trouble for Poaching Ubisoft Staff

THQ in Legal Trouble for Poaching Ubisoft Staff

image

An injunction has been granted against THQ due to the company's aggressive poaching of Ubisoft's workforce.

In June 2010, longtime Ubisoft employee and creative director of Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia Patrice Désilets left the company for an unspecified reason. Four months later, Désilets revealed he'd be leading his own team at THQ Montreal, an Ubisoft competitor. Désilets' move appeared to be contractually legal, but multiple hires moving to his team from Ubisoft have landed THQ in hot water with the Canadian legal system.

Ubisoft confirmed to Game Informer that it was granted an injunction against THQ due to the fact that THQ hasn't been complying with the non-solicit clauses in the contracts of Ubisoft Montreal's employees. After Désilets departure from Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed artistic director Alex Drouin, production manager Mark Besner, and associate producer Jean-Francois Boivin also mysteriously resigned from Ubisoft, a trio that were close enough to Désilets to share Montreal Canadiens season tickets. It was later revealed that the three were improperly hired by THQ Montreal, which a court recognized when it granted a first injunction against THQ at the request of Ubisoft.

Still, THQ persisted, and had former Ubisoft employee Adolfo Gomez-Urda approach current Ubisoft employee Margherita Seconnino with an offer to work at THQ with as much as a 60% raise. In light of this persistence, the Superior Court of Québec has granted a second injunction to prevent THQ from continuing on with its actions. The injunction now involves Gomez-Urda, Désilets, and THQ.

Ubisoft Montreal says that it's trying to protect its "long-term financial and creative health." Maybe these kinds of moves are just what go on in the corporate world, but this situation makes it seem like there's some serious videogame employee espionage going on in Montreal. Assassin's Creed must have really rubbed off on its creators.

Source: Game Informer

Permalink

So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

AC10:
So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

Not if they're contractually obligated to stay at the place they're at.

shintakie10:

AC10:
So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

Not if they're contractually obligated to stay at the place they're at.

However, the only infringement THQ is in trouble for is with the non-solicit clauses. No one was contractually obliged to never quit Ubisoft.

What if they quit, then got an offer? How will Ubisoft be able to prove this wasn't the case?

Ubisoft employees can make choices for themselves, however if THQ is specifically targeting Ubisoft rather than just plain old offering better conditions all round, than they should stop.

OH SHIT.

I hope these lawsuits don't affect THQ's release schedule for 2011. I want my Saint's Row and Red Faction.

It sounds like THQ didn't go through proper procedure, if I'm reading this right.

AC10:

shintakie10:

AC10:
So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

Not if they're contractually obligated to stay at the place they're at.

However, the only infringement THQ is in trouble for is with the non-solicit clauses. No one was contractually obliged to never quit Ubisoft.

What if they quit, then got an offer? How will Ubisoft be able to prove this wasn't the case?

Hmmm...point.

If THQ actually defends itself then Ubisoft doesnt have much a case legally speakin because of pretty much what you just said. An injunction like the one that was put against THQ is pretty easy to get, but also easy to get around for your stated reason. It'd end up bein one of those cases where everyone knows that THQ is poachin, but there isnt enough evidence to prove it.

This better not end in a crappy sequel to brotherhood, that cliffhanger was just too much.

shintakie10:

AC10:
So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

Not if they're contractually obligated to stay at the place they're at.

Indentured Servitude anyone?

And I thought "At-will" work states were criminal...

My sense of outrage is being dulled by the fact that I'm much more interested in Saints Row 3 than I am in anything in the Assassin's Creed line.

AC10:

shintakie10:

AC10:
So people can't leave a company for a better offer anymore?

Not if they're contractually obligated to stay at the place they're at.

However, the only infringement THQ is in trouble for is with the non-solicit clauses. No one was contractually obliged to never quit Ubisoft.

What if they quit, then got an offer? How will Ubisoft be able to prove this wasn't the case?

There are clauses like that where I work. If I quit, I cannot solicit the people here to work for a direct competitor. It's one thing if The Ubisoft employees walk up to THQ and say "What can you give me?", it's another when THQ specifically targets Ubisoft and makes offers to steal their employers

Well, if Gomez-Urda was dressed up as a court jester, I suppose we'll know what was going on....

Still, this is hardly limited to the gaming sector. With the jobs market being as terrible as it is, some companies are actively recruiting their competition's workforce in order to weaken them. Instead of, you know, offering jobs to those poor unemployed schlubs out there who actually need them.

Screwed-up world these days, I'm tellin' ya.

I wonder if they aren't all leaving because of Brotherhood. I mean the story in that was so poorly put together I can't imagine that they had much say in it. Quitting because their baby was so destroyed seem valid, and would account for why the AC:B story was so patchy and bad, albeit with far better gameplay.

So people cannot follow their friends to a new company to work together? I guess not.

I don't even know why "non-solicitation" and "non-compete" clauses in contracts are even recognised as legal in most countries, to me they reek of anti-competitiveness.

Don't want your employees leaving for another company? Treat them better, either with extra money, or better goodies.

Don't want someone who left you competing against you? Tough nuggets.

I hate this "companies have rights" BS. People have rights, not companies.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here