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Microsoft, Google to resume battle for employee

The tech giants will return to the courtroom Friday to continue their dispute over Google's employment of Kai-Fu Lee, a former Microsoft worker.

Microsoft and Google are heading back to court on Friday in ongoing dispute over Kai-Fu Lee, a former Microsoft executive that quit in July to work for Google.

Microsoft sued Google for hiring Lee to run its operations in China, alleging his new duties violate the terms of an employment agreement he signed when he joined Microsoft.

The companies are scheduled to appear on Friday at a hearing in federal court in San Jose, Calif., where Google wants the case decided. Microsoft wants the case decided in the state of Washington, where the software maker is based and where a judge already has already temporarily banned Lee from performing certain work for Google until he issues a final ruling. That case is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Google initially filed its countersuit in California state court, which generally frowns upon noncompete contracts. Microsoft had the case moved to federal court.

At Friday's hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte is scheduled to hear two motions. One is Google's request that the court void Lee's contract and issue a summary judgment without a trial. The other is Microsoft's motion to either dismiss, transfer or stay Google's suit.

Microsoft offered to settle the suits with Google after Washington court issued the preliminary injunction. Google has not responded to the offer, which asks the company to limit Lee's duties until the noncompete agreement expires in July.