Novell has won an injunction against three former employees, preventing them using knowledge they gained at the networking company to develop software for their new venture.
The injunction was made by the Utah Fourth District Court against three engineers - Jeff Merkey, Darren Major and Larry Angus - who formerly worked on Novell's Wolf Mountain clustering technology and left last April to set up their own company.
This company was originally called Wolf Mountain Group but the name was changed to Timpanogas Research Group when its relationship with Novell turned sour.
Novell initially said its relationship with the breakaway group was friendly but slapped a lawsuit against it weeks later. The networking firm accused the group of breach of contract, misuse of trademark, infringement of intellectual property, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Timpanogas is now prohibited from developing software for nine months, after Judge Schofield ruled that the start-up intended to base its product on Novell technology. He said that, while clustering technology was in the public domain, the way Timpanogas had planned to use it constituted a trade secret.
Merkey, chief executive of Timpanogas, called this ?intellectual slavery?, and accused the court of giving Novell an 18-months advantage over it and other clustering developers.
He said the judge has ?allowed former employers to extend control over ex-employees and what they can do in their careers after leaving their employment for up to two years, in a form of intellectual slavery?.
Merkey said Timpanogas may seek a stay and appeal against the ruling.
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