I Don't Think It's Motorola's Trade Secrets That Have Made The iPhone A Success

from the let's-be-honest-here dept

Late Friday, the news broke that Motorola was suing a former sales executive who had left Motorola and joined Apple in April. Motorola is claiming that he was sharing Motorola’s trade secrets with Apple. Of course, given the directions both companies seem to be heading in with their mobile phone devices, one might think that the only “secrets” he might have shared from Motorola were about what not to do. In fact, it seems like a lot of Apple’s success with the iPhone has been in ignoring many of the old rules.

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Companies: apple, motorola

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Comments on “I Don't Think It's Motorola's Trade Secrets That Have Made The iPhone A Success”

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17 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets can mean many things. Granted the guy was a sales executive, but he could of had access to some things he strictly did not need to know.

From my perspective it seems more likely that Motorrola’s “trade secrets” involve the technology aspect of a lot of things.

Possibly that is another reason for Apple to be strict about 3rd party Apps on the phone. It could be found several of those apps or their components would work on Motorolla hardware without modification.

But who cares at this point what any corporation/government/person with money and lackeys does. So many people are just flat out apathetic its, well, pathetic.

Hundreds of years of running from the Dark Ages, and they’ve willingly become the ignorant peasants.

Michael H says:

Noncom

Usually big corporations have a non-competition contract that you sign when they hire you stating that if you leave the company you can’t join a competitor for a set period of time; indeed the article says “Fenger’s employment by Apple violates his written promise not to work for a competitor for at least two years after leaving Motorola”.

Sharing trade secrets? Probably not. But if you sign a legally binding contract and then do the opposite, yes, you will get sued and you will lose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Noncom

> But if you sign a legally binding contract and then
> do the opposite, yes, you will get sued and
> you will lose.

Depends upon your jurisdiction. Non-competes are not
supportable in California. Sure, they are in
every contract you’ll sign, but they are unenforceable
and every party who’s been around the block more than
once knows that.

It’s a shame that non-competes are enforceable anywhere.

Haywood says:

Re: Noncom

“you will get sued and you will lose.”

Not necessarily, in many cases the decision comes down, that you are entitled to make a living. The noncomp agreement is vied like a EULA; it is signed under duress as the only way to get the job in the first place. Depends where it is filed & signed, of course, attitudes and laws vary greatly from state to state.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Noncom

Some of these non-compete agreements are nonsense. How do you expect this engineer to get a job after two years of not working in the field? Besides, isn’t Motorola looking to sell their phone business anyway? And what of them giving the guy stock options? The way Motorola management ran the company into the ground, I don’t think his options are worth anything anyway.

Besides, as many here suggest, if these secrets were worth anything Motorola wouldn’t be in the shape they are in. I think It’s simply that the engineer doesn’t want to waste his talent in a company which is on the verge of letting their phone division go anyway.

comboman says:

trade secrets not what you think

Trade secrets that a sales exec would know about are not likely to be technical in nature. It’s probably things like what suppliers and retailers Motorola has contracts with and what’s in those contracts. Even if a sales exec knew technical details about Motorola’s next gen products, he wouldn’t understand them well enough to be useful to anyone at Apple.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Motorola May Be Right

My limited understanding of the case is that *when the Exec left Moto*, he then signed a non-compete. That is different than signing one when one accepts a job. Part of his parting non-compete deal was a payoff of millions of dollars. His deal prohibited him from working for any competitor for two years.

He is also accused of poaching two other Motorola staff over to Apple.

Motorola is suing him for agreeing to a golden parachute, then reneging on his obligations weeks later. If those are the facts in this case, I’m with Motorola on this one, whether they can win in California court or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

“….given the directions both companies seem to be heading in with their mobile phone devices, one might think that the only “secrets” he might have shared from Motorola…”

Not very logical since if the employee stole the secrets then Apple would have them and not Motorola, and if you had read the original article you would have seen that “…vice president for the company’s mobile- device business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa..” and is now “…Apple’s vice president for global iPhone sales…” clearly some serious and not very replacable expertise moved from Moto to Apple, and clealry Apple needed telecom expertise to break into telecom (if you think that was easy you havn’t understood the problem).

Another Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re right Coward. All these punk kids ever think of is rushing to say, “Oooohhh….a big company stifling innovation” or “He didn’t steal anything…Motorola technology sucks”….type comments.

How the @#$% would any of you dumba$$es know if a trade secret were stolen or not? “Trade secrets that a sales exec would know about are not likely to be techincal in nature”???? How the HELL would you know that? Because he’s in a Sales Dept? Go back to your gaming console and power drinks kiddies.

Anonymous Cowherd (user link) says:

Punk kids

You know what? “All these punk kids” are right, and moreover, in another twenty years “all these punk kids” are senators and congressmen and CEOs and other people involved in running the show.

Just like the ones doing so now were “punk kids” back in the sixties. Some of them did drugs then, and now some of those have legalized pot for some medical uses.

Now we’ve already got talk of giving some archiving organizations copyright exemption. How long before the “punk kids” are stripping it drastically or abolishing it, noncompetes are unenforceable in many more states than they already are, and other drastic changes have produced freer and more fluid markets?

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