Lawsuit against Apple Inc. (AAPL) Alleges That Company Poached Battery Manufacturer Employees
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been charged with poaching employees by a battery maker. The manufacturer has also dragged the technology company to a court of law. In its lawsuit, filed probably early February, A123 Systems blamed Apple for poaching its workers who had key proprietary information as part of its plan to develop its own battery segment in California.
The complaint pointed out that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) poached five of its key employees from its Advanced System Venture Technologies segment. The complaint was removed to a district court of Massachusetts. The mini exodus started with the CTO of Venture Technologies, Mujeeb Ijaz leaving the company under suspicious circumstances in June last year.
Described as a technology incubator by A123 Systems, the task of the team was to provide accelerating game-changing technologies. Once Ijaz left, there were four more individuals on the staff, Michael Erickson, Indrajeet Thorat, Don Dafoe, and Depeng Wang, all of whom have left within the previous month.
As indicated in the complaint filing, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was charged with an aggressive campaign to poach A123 employees and also raid A123’s business after June last year. At issue were non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements that Ijaz supposedly broke by hiring one or more of his former colleagues following his joining with Apple.
It is quite natural that, when some key staff leave a company without giving any reason, such companies face the prospect of closing of individual projects that were assigned for want of suitable replacements.
Seeks Court Restrain
The complaint also alleged that its staff, who joined Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Panasonic, and Johnson Controls Inc (NYSE:JCI), were also targeted since they have knowledge about its battery technology. The complaint specifically charged Ijaz for reaching out to the plaintiff’s collaborator, SiNode Systems, employees as they have knowledge on lithium-ion battery technology.
Therefore, the plaintiff sought the Court’s intervention to restrain Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from hiring its employees besides seeking the normal legal and monetary damages. The plaintiff also wanted the court to restrain Ijaz and four other ex-employees from either working at Apple or any other competing firms for a minimum of one year.
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