EMC Sues Pure Storage For Hiring Practices, Misappropriation Of Confidential Information


The lawsuit, coming swiftly after Pure Storage in August unveiled a $150-million round of funding in the company, tells the industry that Pure Storage is doing a lot of the right things.

"That might be one of the best recruiting tools for Pure," IAS' Woodall said. "I wonder who will be employee number 45 to leave EMC for Pure."

EMC declined to comment on the lawsuit, but a company spokesperson emailed a statement to CRN that read, "Pure Storage has waged a deliberate, unlawful and sustained campaign to steal EMC's confidential and proprietary information. We are simply taking the necessary legal action to protect EMC's rights."

Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of product for Pure Storage, told CRN that Pure Storage believes in employee freedom as long as employees behave in an ethical manner and follow their commitments to former employers.

Pure Storage, for instance, does not have a non-compete clause in its own employment agreements, but does have clauses to protect the company's intellectual property rights, Kixmoeller said. "This is not unusual in Silicon Valley," he said. "We want to retain our employees at Pure. The legality of non-competes differs around the world. California does not recognize them."

Ultimately, Pure Storage is an intellectual property company, and expects employees to respect its own and others' rights, Kixmoeller said.

"When we hire employees, we don't want any intellectual property from their former employers whatsoever," he said. "It's not helpful to us. We hire people for their brains going forward. We make it clear what we expect from them."

Kixmoeller said Pure is not contesting EMC's saying the company hired 44 former EMC employees. The company currently has over 300 employees, he said.

Pure is helping individual employees defend themselves from allegations they misused EMC intellectual property, Kixmoeller said. He also said that, as far as he knows, no former EMC employees have left Pure Storage because of the lawsuits.

"We are well funded to protect ourselves, and we intend to do so," he said.

In its lawsuit, EMC cited 32 former U.S. employees by name who left the company since August of 2011 to join Pure Storage. In addition, EMC said at least 10 other employees outside the U.S. have done so.

NEXT: Pure Storage CEO's Open Letter Response