Obviously the "don't bother signing it" tactic works elsewhere, but it wouldn't have worked at Microsoft. As far back as 1987, when I started there, they wouldn't have let you leave the onboarding room without having signed it. They were as picky about it as they were about proof of citizenship.
Moreover, they give you a copy of it during your exit interview to remind you of your obligation.
During Kai-Fu Lee's lawsuit between him, Microsoft, and Google, Google definitely argued California jurisdiction but they also threw in the fact that since he was taking a job in China, Washington court rulings didn't apply there.
Clearly neither Google nor Microsoft didn't think they had a slam-dunk case, or at least one that would be resolved quickly, because they settled. Either way there was a cloud over his ability to start his job.
It all depends on the employee in question, the company being moved to, and Microsoft's corporate mood at the time. But I can say that as an employee in the state of Washington, it's pretty well known that your company may choose to enforce a non-compete and that it may well work.
Microsoft has successfully used its non-compete clause to prevent people from taking jobs at California-based competitors before.
Perhaps the most famous example of this was when Kai-Fu Lee left Microsoft to run Google China. Microsoft sued and Google counter-sued. They eventually settled out of court, but the court most definitely did not dismiss Microsoft's claims out of hand.
Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity are travel agents which means they are the entities which actually issue the tickets and communicate with the airline reservation systems (in the case of AA, it's SABRE) in the course of doing so.
The ability to issue tickets is a privilege permitted by commercial agreements between the airlines and travel agencies.
It's not about getting access to the flight data per se. The dispute must be about the commercial terms of Orbitz' agency agreement with AA, although I have no idea about the specifics.
Note that Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia are totally different than other sites like Kayak and Sidestep, which offer a similar shopping experience but make money from referral fees by sending shoppers to the airline sites where the actual booking is made.
(I used to work at Expedia.)
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