Google Inc.’s attempt to lift the job restrictions on a top computer engineer lured from rival Microsoft Corp. suffered another blow Friday under a tentative court ruling that would limit the search engine company’s legal options for at least another three months.

Lawyers from the high-tech titans appeared in federal court a few hours after Judge Ronald Whyte indicated he will pause a Google lawsuit that seeks to invalidate a noncompete agreement that’s preventing Kai-Fu Lee from carrying out all his duties as the new director of the company’s research center in China.