Lee Permitted to Recruit for Google

UPDATED Kai-Fu Lee will be allowed to recruit for Google's China division as a ruling Tuesday by a King County Superior Court judge permitted him to start work at the search giant. The ruling also overturns a previous decision that had prevented Lee from doing any work with Google following a request from Microsoft.

However, Lee will be barred from working on any products or services close to what he did at Microsoft, which includes search technologies. The judge said that while he will honor Microsoft's non-compete agreement, recruiting for the China location is not a violation of that.

Microsoft Tuesday afternoon released a statement calling the decision a victory for the company.

"The court entered an injunction that restricts the work Dr. Lee can do for Google, preventing him from working on speech, natural language and search technologies, as well as setting the overall research and development course for Google China," Microsoft said.

It also added that the court found Dr. Lee "misled Microsoft" and misused confidential information.

"Dr. Lee was hired to serve as the President of Google China's operation, and today's injunction severely restricts his ability to perform the role for which he is hired," Microsoft chided.

A full trial to decide whether Lee will be allowed to work in search technologies at Google is set for January 2006.

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