Background Facts for Memo Assignment: Opening a new chapter in its rivalry with Google, Microsoft on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, sued the search giant and a former Microsoft executive, Kai-Fu Lee, who has been tapped by Google to run its China operations. Google is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in California. Microsoft is also a Delaware corporation but with its headquarters in Washington state. The suit was filed in a Washington state court against Google and Lee, who until recently was the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Services Division. Media reports on Thursday, Sept. 5, indicated that Lee was joining Google and would head up a new artificial intelligence effort in China for Google’s Search division.
Lee started working for Microsoft, in the Seattle headquarters, in the mid-2000's focusing on R&D for faster searches. Fresh out of graduate school, Lee and Microsoft did not sign an employment contract when he began working there. In the early 2010's Lee was promoted to lead the search development team at Microsoft. This promotion was accompanied by a large pay increase and a new employment contract. The employment contact included a non-compete clause stating that Lee could not work for any direct competitor of Microsoft's for thirteen months after he left the company. On signing the new employment contact Lee received a bonus of $200,000.
In March 2019 top Microsoft executives met with Lee to discuss the poor performance of his development team. The development team was months behind on a key section of code. In that meeting Lee claims that the Microsoft executives agreed to waive his non-compete clause if his team delivered the code in the next two months. The team successfully delivered the project before the new deadline and Lee began to look for a new job. In August 2019, both Kai-Fu Lee and Microsoft mutually agreed to part ways, and by September 3, 2019, Lee had accepted a job at Google in China. Please develop a business memo identifying at least three legal issues and analyzing each to address whether Microsoft is likely to be successful in its lawsuit against Google and Kai-Fu Lee.
Grading Rubric: Memos will be reviewed for accuracy in legal analysis, including the correct identification of the rule of law as well as for completeness and professional presentation. Sloppy, typo-laden or incomplete memos will not meet the foregoing standard and will be rejected as incomplete and will not be graded. Each memo is required to include the following sections: Executive Summary; Background Facts; Issue statement (please identify at least 2 legal issues); Rule of Law; Analysis and Conclusion. Each issue should have a corresponding rule of law, analysis and conclusion section.
Legal Research and Reference Materials: Memos are required to include at least 3 legal citations for identifying relevant points of law included in the memo to address the issues identified and analyzed in the memos. For purposes of this memo, students are limited to using the legal principles as described in the Restatement, UCC, case law and principles set forth in Smith & Roberson’s Business Law, 17th Edition, West Publishing Co. (2017). You may not use internet research or resources beyond those included in the class textbook.