The Quebec Court of Appeal for the District of Montreal has ruled in favor of THQ Montreal and its parent company. The decision strikes down a provisional injunction obtained by Ubisoft that temporarily prohibited THQ from soliciting Ubisoft employees who were bound by a non-compete provision with Ubisoft. The lawsuit was filed by Ubisoft after THQ announced that developer Patrice Désilets had joined the studio to create a new intellectual property after he resigned as Creative Director of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise.
The Court of Appeal agreed with THQ on the grounds that it was not bound by any non-competition restrictions and was therefore free to solicit any Ubisoft employee, at long as its efforts did not amount to unfair competition. The Court went on to conclude that THQ's solicitation of Ubisoft employees did not constitute unfair competition; it exercised its "legitimate legal rights based on the principle of liberty of commerce and trade."
"The Court of Appeal’s decision is a tremendous victory for THQ Montreal and all of the creative talent working in the video game industry in Montreal. We are thrilled with the Court’s decision in this matter because we believe strongly in an individual’s freedom to choose where they want to be employed,” said Ed Kaufman, EVP, Business and Legal Affairs, THQ. "Our goal has always been to promote free competition and to allow the many creative talent in the interactive entertainment industry in Montreal to be able to choose where they want to work. We believe the Court of Appeal’s decision will promote competition, alleviate people’s fears and encourage more talented people to join Patrice and our other creative employees at our state-of-the-art studio in Montreal.”
Ubisoft has not issued a statement about the ruling as of this writing.