Friday, February 22, 2013

Was there, or is there, poaching between pharma companies?

A while ago, some documents relating to Palm poaching Apple technical staff surfaced. Here's a quote from Gizmodo's account:
Notably, former Palm CEO Edward Colligan has made a statement which points out that the company was threatened with patent litigation if it didn't stop poaching staff from Apple. In the legal filing, Colligan explains how Jobs suggested that "if Palm did not agree to such an agreement, Palm could face lawsuits alleging infringement of Apple's many patents." An email which made up part of the discussions is pictured below, in which Jobs points out the asymmetry of the situation, writing: "I'm sure you realize the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say: ‘We will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money.'" 
I don't really have much to say about the Palm versus Apple thing -- business ain't beanbag and corporations will do whatever it takes to get leverage and coercive power over other organizations.

I think there have been a variety of famous departures of medicinal and process chemists during the late 1990s and 2000s for new shores. But I wonder if it is/was common for pharma companies to entice each other's program managers over if/when they wanted to compete -- and, if so, if it happens much anymore? Did presidents of R&D (at the LaMattina level, say) ever call each other and made angry noises? I wonder if they ever called a truce, like Apple and Google decided to? (Such truces, of course, are 1) possibly illegal, 2) good for the corporations and 3) less good for individual workers -- 'twas ever thus.) 

1 comment:

  1. One major point about the Silicon Valley employers: non-compete agreements for normal employees are invalid in California. I'm sure that the non-competes for pharma employees outside of that geographical area are quite severe and extremely restrictive. This is mostly extrapolation from my current non-compete that excludes me from working at listed and unlisted polymer companies around the world, and my company makes a fraction of pharma level cash.

    Again, I'm not in that particular field, but looking at my situation, my non-compete severely limits the types of companies that I look at for the next potential job. Working at a competitor, I would definitely get sued, and I'm not a level where I would bet my new company would litigate on their dime.

    ReplyDelete