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Yahoo wins first round in engineer poaching fight

Antony Savvas

A US court has refused to impose a temporary restraining order to bar 13 new Yahoo engineers from working on interactive speech technology after it hired them from interactive speech specialist Nuance Communications.

Nuance filed a lawsuit against Yahoo last week, claiming Yahoo was stealing its trade secrets and was guilty of unfair competition in the market after “gutting” its research and development team.

Nuance wanted a restraining order on the 13 engineers to stop them working at Yahoo until after a court case due to start next month, but the court rejected the request.

Yahoo has rejected Nuance’s claims.

Nuance supplies a number of interactive voice solutions to airlines to help them operate their automated voice flight information systems.

Microsoft and Google are currently engaged in a court battle after Google hired a senior interactive voice specialist from Microsoft to run its China development centre. Microsoft claims he is subject to a “non-compete” clause in his contract.

Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are all developing voice services on their web portals. 


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