HP's fired President Mark Hurd knows too much about the inner workings of HP to be allowed to go to work for competitor Oracle Corporation, HP claims in a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday to block Hurd's taking a new job.
The lawsuit alleges a "breach of contract and threatened misappropriation of trade secrets," according to the 51-page document filed in the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
The action seeks injunctive relief and a jury trial, and lists up to 25 "John Does" as codefendants.
"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 states.
Hurd served as chairman of the board, CEO and president of HP prior to his firing in early August following disclosure of a sexual-harassment complaint by a woman marketing consultant. He joined HP in April 2005.
HP also alleges in the lawsuit "that each of the Does is in some way and/or manner responsible for the acts and occurrences hereon alleged, whether such acts and such occurrences were committed intentionally, recklessly or others, and that each Doe is liable to HP for the damages suffered by it."
The bulk of the lawsuit brief consists of background on HP and specific language from agreements with Hurd about protecting trade secrets and information, and exhibits.
In a section on "post-employment activities," the brief states that Hurd agreed: "If I accept a position with a Competitor at any time within twelve months following termination of my employment with HP, I will promptly give written notice" to the senior human-resources manager with a copy to HP's general counsel.
The notice would include providing information HP "needs about my new position to determine whether such position would likely lead to a violation of the Agreement."
"Hurd's failure to provide such notice before it was publicly announced by Oracle, gives rise to a reasonable inference that he is violating his trade secret protection agreements with HP," the lawsuit states.
"HP also seeks to enjoin Hurd from holding a position with a competitor in which he will serve in a capacity that will make it impossible for him to avoid utilizing or disclosing HP's trade secrets and confidential information pursuant to Civil Code section 3426.2(a)," the brief states.
HP is being represented by four different law firms in its action: Seyfarth Shaw of Los Angeles, Michael D. Wexler of Chicago, Ill., Allen Ruby of San Jose and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher of Los Angeles.