A US court has issued a temporary order barring a former EMC storage executive from joining Hewlett-Packard as its executive vice president for enterprise servers, storage and networking citing a non-competitive agreement.
The court said David Donatelli cannot start his new job until EMC and HP resolve a legal dispute over the terms of a noncompete clause Donatelli signed with EMC.
EMC wouldn't comment on the case other than to say it is aware of the court's decision.
In response to the ruling, an HP spokesperson said, "we are disappointed that the Massachusetts court saw fit to delay Mr. Donatelli's employment with HP. However, the court's order is preliminary, and we are confident that Mr. Donatelli will be permitted to join HP in a leadership role once a full hearing of the issues is held. We are similarly disappointed by the lengths to which EMC has gone to impede Mr. Donatelli's efforts to seek other employment."
Donatelli pre-empted EMC's suit by filing one of his own on 27 April in a Superior Court in California asking that it negate his employee agreement, which states that he cannot work for a competitor for 12 months after leaving EMC. Unlike Massachusetts, California generally doesn't recognize non-compete clauses.
At the heart of the case revolves round of whether it is possible for someone in Donatelli's position, a high-level EMC executive with access to his company's trade secrets, to work in a similar position for a competitor and not give away those trade secrets, said Randy Kahnke, a specialist in intellectual property law in the IT industry with the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP in Minneapolis.
Donatelli ran EMC's storage division, the company's largest unit, which made up 80% of EMC's $14.9 billion in revenue last year, according to court documents. Donatelli, who joined EMC in 1987, oversaw the development of EMC's biggest products, the Symmetrix and Clariion storage arrays, the Celerra network attached storage controller and the Centera content-addressed storage array.
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