After Elon Musk’s Twitter (now X Corp.) sent a letter accusing Meta’s new Threads platform of stealing Twitter trade secrets, BBC WorldService interviewed Partner Ryan Baker on July 6, 2023, who said the claims “sound like saber rattling” and may be difficult to prove in court.
“It is hard to imagine that a company like Meta, with hordes of lawyers, both in house and external, would go off and create a product that obviously infringes on a competitor,” Baker said. Thirty million people have already signed up for Threads only days after launching and, in response, Musk sent a letter to Meta threating legal action, saying, “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Twitter alleges that Meta has “raided its employees in an effort to take trade secrets and other information that is proprietary,” Baker said. The difficulty for Twitter is that “California is a fairly free market state for employees. There have been litigations that held that employees had the specific right to go work for a competitor … Google tried to limit a lot of its employees from working for other browsers or other search engines and those cases all failed.”
“It’s hard to say right now if there is real merit to the claims,” Baker said. To prevail, Twitter would have to prove that Meta had the intent of seeking these employees for this information. Additionally, Twitter’s lawyers would have to “establish that the information sought and obtained was subject to a confidentiality agreement or was otherwise protected,” Baker said.
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