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.
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.