Canadian Court Rules That THQ's Hiring Of Assassin's Creed Creator Was Legal

Earlier this year, Patrice Desilets left Ubisoft Montreal, where he had developed three editions of Assassin's Creed, and moved to THQ's operations in the same city. Ubisoft didn't take that lying down, filing suit against THQ for poaching its top talent and winning a court's decision enjoining it from doing so further.

An appeals court for Quebec has overturned that injunction, finding that THQ's pursuit of former Ubisoft employees was not bound by any non-compete clauses in their contracts. THQ claimed complete victory, asserting that the ruling meant its pursuit of Ubisoft talent "did not constitute unfair competition but rather the exercise of its legitimate legal rights based on the principle of liberty of commerce and trade."

Quebec Court of Appeal Unanimously Rules in favour of THQ in Case against Ubisoft [Ubisoft Investor Relations News Release]


Comments

    Thank goodness for that - I've never understood why companies obsess over these non-compete clauses - once they jump ship they're no use to you any more, suing them won't improve your situation.

      Agree 100%. I just don't get these non-compete clauses. If you value your staff and don't want them to leave, make sure they are taken care of better than what the competition can offer. It's not like there isn't NDAs in the agreements, so you could expect that they wouldn't be spreading company secrets anyway.

      It's not about them being of use to you anymore or not. It's about them having knowledge of your future business plans that you don't want them to use to their advantage. Non-compete clauses make sense, while NDA's take care of a lot of things they don't prevent the person from using the knowledge of your company indirectly to create competition/commercial advantage for either themselves or their new employer. Having the person sit out for a period of time protects the employer and also discourages people from jumping ship.

        There is a limit to how much an employer should be able to limit what a former employee can do though. Overly broad non-compete clauses that completely prevent a person from working in their field of expertise are a bit too one-sided for my liking.

        If the new THQ studio was developing a historical action adventure game with a sci-fi twist, then I would be sympathetic with Ubisoft. If Desilets's new game isn't an Assassin's Creed clone, then it seems more like sour grapes.

        That's my point though, you can't help but take your experience and skills with you. If you want to keep that to yourself, then make it worth their while to stay, not a nightmare to leave. I'd start considering it blackmail.

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