Update: HP sues Hurd over confidentiality issues

Hurd recently took a co-president post at rival Oracle

Hewlett-Packard is suing its former CEO, Mark Hurd, who was named co-president of rival Oracle on Monday, saying his hiring violates the terms of a severance agreement he signed with HP.

Hurd left HP last month after a scandal involving an undisclosed relationship with a contractor and alleged improprieties with expense reports.

"Mark Hurd agreed to and signed agreements designed to protect HP's trade secrets and confidential information. HP intends to enforce those agreements," Hewlett-Packard said in a statement.

"Despite being paid millions of dollars in cash, stock and stock options in exchange for Hurd's agreements to protect HP's trade secrets ... HP is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Hurd has put HP's most valuable trade secrets and confidential information in peril," states the suit, which was filed Tuesday in a Santa Clara, California, court.

Hurd's new role as head of sales, marketing and support for Oracle will place him "in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP's trade secrets and confidential information to others," it adds.

The information in question includes HP's annual business plans, as well as a "highly confidential competitive internal analysis of Oracle," which Hurd received in March, according to the suit.

Hurd signed confidentiality agreements in February 2008, February 2009 and last February, according to his severance agreement.

Hurd was required to notify HP within a year of his departure whether he plans to take a job with a competitor, according to the suit.

He is also supposed to provide HP with enough information to determine whether the job would "likely lead to a violation" of the confidentiality agreement. But Hurd made "no effort" to do so before Oracle's announcement Monday, according to the suit.

HP is asking for an injunction that would block Hurd from taking a job "with a competitor in which he will utilize or disclose HP's trade secrets and information." The vendor also wants a special master to regularly monitor Hurd's compliance with the agreements, and undisclosed damages.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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