RIM Sues Motorola over Employee Hiring

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is hiring, Motorola is laying off thousands and the two mobile and wireless rivals head to court as RIM claims Motorola is unfairly blocking former employees from working for RIM.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is seeking a court order preventing Motorola from blocking its former workers from working for RIM. In a complaint filed last week, RIM claims Motorola is engaging in improper competitive practices by unfairly enforcing a nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreement signed by the two rival cell phone makers in February.

RIM claims in the Dec. 23 complaint filed in a Chicago state court that the agreement expired in August and it is free to hire former Motorola employees. In September, Motorola sued RIM to bar the Canadian firm from hiring any Motorola employees under the terms of the February agreement.

Since May 2007, Motorola has laid off approximately 10,000 workers and plans to cut another 3,000 employees in 2009. Most of the cashiered employees worked in Motorola's financially bleeding handset unit.

"Motorola's position shamelessly ignores the fact that Motorola's massive layoffs, and not the RIM entities, have caused hundreds of Motorola employees to date to seek employment with the RIM entities," states the RIM complaint.

The complaint adds the claim that Motorola's actions are preventing RIM "from hiring any Motorola employees, including the thousands of employees Motorola has already fired or will soon fire, without regard for [RIM's] rights or for the damage this tactic will unfairly inflict on Motorola's own employees and ex-employees who will be prevented from finding new employment" with RIM.

The filing also notes that RIM "continue[s] to grow and hire new employees" while Motorola is making "massive layoffs of thousands of its employees in an effort to cut costs within its faltering wireless communication devices businesses."

Neither RIM nor Motorola was available for comment on the complaint.