Ed has been concerned by the number of engineers who have been leaving his company since it was acquired by a private equity company. He reckons he can get his fellow CEOs to agree not to employ eachothers’ engineers.
Because such agreements are in restraint of trade and illegal in most countries, Ed has to tie up the agreements informally.
‘Now for the big one,’ writes Ed, ‘it’s not a large company but a young, fast-growing German company which, unfortunately, has recruited more of our former engineers than anyone else.’
”Today I phoned the CEO of the German company which is taking so many of our engineers.’
‘”We need your help,” I tell him, ‘the whole industry is signing up to this”.’
‘”This is unethical, illegal and a disgrace to our industry,” the German CEO tells me, “we will take no part in it”.’
‘”In that case my company will bring a lawsuit against you for patent infringement,” I tell him.’
‘”But we haven’t infringed any of your patents,” protested the German CEO.’
‘”Our lawyers will find something and, remember, our patent portfolio is a hundred times bigger than yours and our pockets are far deeper than yours. We can bleed you to death with legal costs if don’t go along with us”.’
‘”Oh well,” sighed the German CEO, “if you put it like that we’ll go along with your No Poaching agreement”.’
‘”There’s a good fellow,” I tell him, ‘roll on my $25 mill.’