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Court blocks BlackBerry executive’s move to Apple

The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

BlackBerry Ltd. has won a lawsuit to keep one of its most senior executives from jumping ship to Apple Inc. – at least temporarily.

A ruling released by the Ontario Superior Court this week offers a glimpse of the uncertainty within BlackBerry's senior executive ranks late last year, as the company struggled through a painful transition and the installation of a new CEO.

In a lawsuit filed by BlackBerry against former executive vice-president Sebastien Marineau-Mes, the company claimed Mr. Marineau-Mes violated the terms of his contract by resigning from his position to take a job at Apple, despite a clause that required him to provide six months' notice before leaving the company.

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Mr. Marineau-Mes is a former employee of QNX, an Ottawa software maker that was purchased by BlackBerry in 2010. Following the acquisition, he continued to work for BlackBerry, and in the fall of 2013 was promoted to executive vice-president – but the company was under a promotion freeze at the time, and Mr. Martineau-Mes' new role was not announced widely within the company. He argued in court submissions that, since he never assumed the duties of executive vice-president, the contract requirement did not apply to him.

Ultimately, the court sided with BlackBerry. As a result, Mr. Marineau-Mes must now wait until his six-months' notice expires on June 23 before he can join Apple.

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