Court overturns decision in Ubisoft-THQ labor dispute

Saints Row publisher is once again free to recruit employees from competitor's Montreal studio as Superior Court of Quebec reverses lower court's decision.

In a matter of months, THQ lured away Assassin's Creed creative lead Patrice Desilets and three other key Ubisoft Montreal developers. Concerned with the defection of talent, Ubisoft pursued--and was granted--a court order preventing THQ from further recruiting from within the studio's walls. That ruling has now been overturned, and THQ is again free to hire as it pleases.

Future staffers of THQ Montreal?

THQ today announced that the Quebec Court of Appeal for the District of Montreal has unanimously struck down a provisional injunction that prevented it from soliciting employees from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed studio. This ruling pertains to THQ specifically recruiting individuals that it knew were under non-compete provisions.

The court determined THQ's solicitation of Ubisoft employees did not amount to unfair competition. Citing the principle of liberty of commerce and trade, the ruling stated the solicitation was not illicit, as THQ itself was not previously bound by any non-competition restrictions.

Ubisoft's original provisional injunction was granted in January 2011 following THQ's hiring of Patrice Desilets and subsequent public boasting of grabbing other key Ubisoft team members. Desilets resigned from Ubisoft on May 28, 2010, and was bound to a one-year non-compete provision that prevented the creative director from releasing a project or recruiting employees.

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Discussion

26 comments
zaiwen
zaiwen

u wanna settle it huh... make a crossover fighting game Ubisoft vs THQ.... roflmao

normsta
normsta

I would work for THQ over UBI any day. Ubi is practically the french EA. (I can say that cuz I AM french) Ubi is full of themselves and one hell of a milk factory. And they preach emotions... And like most, they never practice what they preach... Yes THQ has ruff edges... BUT when THQ publishes or develops a GOOD game it usually trumps anything I've ever seen from UBI... I got a feeling THQ has an AWESOME IP up their sleeves...

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

THQ needs all the help they can get. They've been (mostly) terrible. Like, FOREVER.

strayfies
strayfies

If Ubisoft wants an exclusivity clause for their employees, they need to pay for it. If my own company somehow prevented me from getting another job or a promotion, I'd expect some serious recompense. Happens in Hollywood all the time, these clauses are pricey.

Darnasian
Darnasian

@_Silent_Jay_ Well said...it's dirty to steal employees and it's known that THQ hired them just to make a game or slow the better competition and then they will probably fire them... This is the best tactic to slow the competition enough so you can grow in sales... Assassin's Creed franchise and all other tactical shooters from Ubisoft and other stuff are a lot better that Saints Row 3 and other games that THQ releases... Not saying THQ makes bad games....STALKER it's actually one hell of a good game... Still I prefer Ubisoft...my godfather worked for Ubisoft Romania and Ubisoft Paris XD

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Anything that damages Ubisoft in any way is a positive force in my book.

hector1313
hector1313

@_Silent_Jay_ According to the article (which might be completely inaccurate for all I know) Desilets non-compete clause only stopped him from releasing a project or recruiting employees. Neither of those are broken by him working for THQ, so long as they don't release something with which he's involved within a year.

hector1313
hector1313

Perhaps Ubisoft should offer their employees better contracts before someone else does... instead of complaining about it?

John_Read
John_Read

anyone can work anywhere and in any co.who the hell ubi thinks they are

DrKill09
DrKill09

Good. I love THQ, and hate Ubish**. :D

Barighm
Barighm

It's always low to poach another company's employees, but non-compete contracts are retarded too, so it's hard to feel sympathy for anyone.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

@Archontic And you know this for a fact? ;) @article It's good this was overturned, as much as this type of mentality will lead to the employment equivilant of blackmail. With companies constantly having to offer more and more to keep their employees, driving devs costs up, and likely the length of games down. I would have to imagine that they are leaving for more than money, but who knows. Oh how the face of the gaming industry has changed since I was 6, 24 years ago XD

Gen007
Gen007

It seems like all companies have that apple state of mind now. Let's not dare look at what we are doing wrong let's just sue. They should be looking at why so many people are willing to jump ship and not trying to stop THQ and last time i checked Ubisoft was a much bigger force in the gaming industry. So they should be able to offer incentives to people that THQ can't. That's business basics right there but obviously they know that and just arent willing to do what it takes to keep their talent.

Archontic
Archontic

It's not like THQ was climbing through windows at night and kidnapping Ubisoft developers.

Formula_50
Formula_50

That's what happens when you cross the 3rd Street Saints!

Karzovis
Karzovis

Patrice deselits. Expecting woman with glasses and average looks. Gets a guy with a neckbeard and sweatshirt a size too small. I am disappoint.

redness19
redness19

Too bad Ubisoft, if you were a better stuido to work at than THQ, people wouldn't be so inclinded to quit. Besides, in the cut throat world of game development, a studio is just as likely to lay you off after the release of a game as they are to give you a bonus. Workers have to look out for themselves.

tachsniper
tachsniper

jesus gaming is getting cut throat...

_Silent_Jay_
_Silent_Jay_

@airshocker If you sign a contract with a no-compete clause, you shouldn't be able to just ignore it, either. They're part and parcel with working in software development, and it shows a lack of professional integrity to break one. Desilets signed a contract that said he would not work for a competitor for a year after he left the company. He left the company, citing burnout, then turned around for a position at THQ while still under that contract. Ubisoft were totally in their rights to seek an injunction, and I'm kind of surprised that the court overturned it.

mercutio665
mercutio665

@ Infinity_Gauntl Activision doesn't have a Montreal studio. But if I'm not mistaken, there is already a no poaching agreement between EA Montreal and Ubisoft Montreal.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

Watch Activision and EA will start taking all the talent like a vacume.

airshocker
airshocker

The injunction should have never happened. If a company is able to take people from you, it's because your company isn't treating them well enough.

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

Assassin Creed franchise is milked soo badly.. Take everything u want.. then go make something new.

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

winshot
winshot

Watch out THQ there will be a swarm of Assassin's all over your place pretty soon...