Mastercard sues Nike over Solicitation of Staff: How job searches can get much more complicated, by Larry Eder

Mastercard versus Nike Lawsuit over Solicitation of Staff


This is a fascinating piece on the federal lawsuit by Mastercard. This lawsuit is being watched by many, not only in the footwear business, but, even more in the Silicon Valley. The real issue is truly over semantics. What is direct solicitation of an competitive employee?-most of us know what that is. But, what the heck is indirect solicitation? Well, you are going to find out, and human resources management be forewarned, this is a seminal lawsuit. 


That is where it will get truly messy. And more of a pain in the backside for businesses in all sectors. 

It is also indicative of how different business in the running business and technology business are conducted. 

Part of the concern from the halls of Mastercard is that, their security "secret sauce" was revealed to another company. In doing this, however, Mastercard will open a Pandora's box with their 'vague' lawsuit. Here is what, per our sources, is at stake; solicitation of employees, and what constitutes direct and indirect solicitation depends on the state one is in. Non-competes are also going to be in question, as this truly does differ in industries, states and countries. Thanks to former California governor Arnold Schwartzengger, non-competes mean very little in the Golden State. 

The Wall Street Journal blog did a fantastic job on explaining the Mastercard lawsuit, Nike's response, and also the vagaries of the lawsuit. Nike has responded with a " this suit has no merit" response. Part of what is truly at issue here is how the various industries manage solicitation of employees, and what they consider to be protected information. 

And here is where I digress, so hold that thought. The writer of the short lived TV Show 'That was the Week that Was, " Tom Lehrer, once noted, " I feel that if someone can not communicate, then, they should just shut up." 
Mastercard wrote a lawsuit described by some legal beagles as "vague." Que'st que c'est? So, the legal team is either trying to catch as much as they can, or they don't know why Mastercard is mad at Nike. 

IMHO, This lawsuit should be settled out of court, with representatives from both companies, mediation team and get it done. A prolonged lawsuit will make hiring former employees of technology companies even more of pain in the gluteus maximus.

If I recall, our friends in Beaverton recently went after three designers who 
allegedly stole Nike assets, and detailed all of the the above in a fascinating feature at Fast Company. That juicy read kept me up for six hours over the holidays one evening, giving up several episodes of Marco Polo (Netflix-fascinating). Non-competes in footwear were traditionally one year, then, 18 months, now some go two years. Pretty hard to do non-competes longer that two years, as the locations of companies have to deal with different interpretations of the law. 

The battles over non-competes in the land of footwear are small potatoes when it comes to technology wars over human capital. 

As digital security issues heat up (and they will), talented people will be sought after more and more. Expect the lawsuits to get more and more compelling. 

And for the running biz, these lawsuits will be much more difficult than footwear non-competes. 

To read the original piece in the Wall Street journal on Mastercard vs Nike, go to:

To read the original piece in Fast Company on Nike lawsuit against three top designers, to go:

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required