Oracle Corp. today denied charges of unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets levied against it by Informix Software after hiring 11 former Informix engineers.
Informix filed a lawsuit in Portland, Oregon, yesterday after database software market leader Oracle hired the workers earlier this week. Also named as a defendant is Gary Kelley, who moved from being a vice president in Informix' product development group to vice president of Oracle's new Portland development center.
"We have absolutely, absolutely no interest in Informix trade secrets and proprietary information and have taken the normal steps to ensure that any new employee coming to Oracle would not bring any Informix information," says Jerry Held, senior vice president of Oracle's server technology division.
The developers left en masse and had approached several companies in addition to Oracle, according to Held.
"This group of senior Informix developers had become frustrated with the lack of vision of Informix' top management," and in particular with integrating their technology with object/relational database technology from Illustra Information Technologies, Held says. Informix bought Illustra for US$400 million in December of 1995.
Informix has accused Oracle of buying the Informix employees to get at Informix technology, which Held adamantly denies.
"Oracle has a substantial lead over Informix" in parallel, replication and object technology, he says.
Oregon's Circuit Court for Multnomah County rejected Informix requests that Oracle be prevented from hiring the workers and from discussing the matter publicly, according to Held.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 7.