Apple Requests Dismissal of A123 Systems Poaching Lawsuit

Posted by at 12:33 pm on March 12, 2015

On Tuesday, Apple filed a motion with the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by vertical-market energy solutions provider A123 Systems, even as settlement talks were said to be in progress. The latter company filed suit against Apple after the iPhone maker recruited A123’s former chief technical officer, Mujeeb Ijaz, who then allegedly led a poaching effort that persuaded a handful of very key scientists and engineers to jump ship to Apple as well — leading A123 to halt several research projects due to the brain drain.

A123 charged Apple in its lawsuit with deliberately interfering with no-compete and non-disclosure (and non-solicitation) clauses in the former employees’ contracts. Apple, though it often works on battery technologies, would not normally be considered a direct competitor to A123, since the latter mostly works on vehicle energy systems. However, speculation that Apple is working on a hybrid car — or battery technology for one — has since arisen, in part due to the many hires from that area, including the five from A123.

In its court filing, Apple says simply that the original lawsuit “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” and thus doesn’t meet the requirements of a lawsuit. It’s unknown when the court will respond to the filings.

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