BlackBerry sues SVP of software to stay after being hired away by Apple


You don’t hear this everyday: BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit against its own SVP of software following his letter of resignation in December of last year. The company claims that Sebastien Marineau-Mes’s attempt to leave for a new ‘VP of Core OS’ position at Apple was a violation of his employment contract.

According to a ruling from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Marineau-Mes is being sued over the breach of contract terms that stipulated he must provide at least six months notice before leaving BlackBerry. So since he submitted his resignation in December, the court says he must stay through June…

iMore has BlackBerry’s statement on the court’s ruling:

“BlackBerry will not stand by while a former employee violates his employment contract. It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honor the agreements they make with us. When we enter into an agreement with an employee, as we have with Mr. Marineau, we expect him to honor his commitment just as he would expect that we will honor ours. We are pleased that the court has endorsed our position and ruled that the employee contract and its terms are valid.”

Marineau-Mes began working at BlackBerry in 2010 when the company purchased QNX—the software used to build the foundation of BlackBerry’s PlayBook OS and BlackBerry 10, as well as Apple’s CarPlay project. And according to iMore, he’s considered by many insiders to be one of the great talents of the team.

It’s unclear what effect the court’s ruling will have on the executive’s employment status. While technically he must stay at BlackBerry for 4 more months, I can’t imagine wanting an employee to continue working under these circumstances. You also have to wonder if Apple is willing to keep the position open for him.