Ubisoft injunction against THQ struck down in Quebec appeals court

By Xav de Matos, Dec 16, 2011 5:45pm PST

Though the Superior Court of Quebec ordered THQ to stop poaching talent from Ubisoft in March 2011, an appeals court has sided with THQ. The ruling, which THQ celebrated in press release form, halts Ubisoft's injunction.

THQ's statement revealed that the Quebec Court of Appeal for the District of Montreal had "unanimously" ruled in its favor. The original injunction filed by Ubisoft sought to prohibit THQ from "soliciting Ubisoft employees who were to THQ's knowledge bound by a non-compete provision with Ubisoft."

In December 2009, THQ announced it would open a studio in Montreal with ex-Assassin's Creed lead Patrice Désilets at the helm. In January of the following year, THQ VP of Core Games Danny Bilson stated that THQ had hired a number of new employees Désilets deemed necessary to develop a "new IP" his studio would be working on.

"We put all of them on retention and got them started on their non-compete [clauses]. I kind of know what their roles are, but they were the most important people to Patrice. All three of them are Ubi," he told Joystiq. These hires were at the center of Ubisoft's injunction due to non-competition restrictions the company puts in employee contracts; however, the appeals court has ruled against the company.

According to the Quebec Court of Appeal, THQ "was not bound by any non-competition restrictions, and was therefore free to solicit any Ubisoft employee," so long as THQ's efforts "did not amount to unfair competition."

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