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Judge denies Apple, Google dismissal of poaching lawsuit

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012

Apple, Google, Intel, more to face trial

Judge Lucy Koh late Wednesday denied once more a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over anti-poaching deals. The group, which includes Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar, was told it still had to face allegations of violating federal and state antitrust laws. They may ultimately pay millions of dollars in claimed damages.

A potential class action, the lawsuit from five programmers asserts that the companies made unofficial deals that kept those at one company from actively trying to recruit at the other. The entire group wasn't necessarily speaking to each other, but evidence has shown agreements between Apple and Google as well as similar relationships.

Such deals are frowned upon in antitrust law as it both risks stifling competition by preventing a natural flow of talent as well as hurting the employees themselves. As their options for changed employment go down, workers are potentially denied pay increases, bonuses, and other incentives either for joining another company or as retention methods.

The ad hoc deals have since mostly, if not entirely, stopped. [via Reuters]

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    but it protects IP

    "... stifling competition by preventing a natural flow of talent as well as hurting the employees themselves." This is the reason these companies made this arrangement. One company spends a lot of money training someone, they have access to a lot of corporate IP worth billions, they get hired by a competitor and all that IP knowledge goes with them. Of course, morals keep them from disclosing things. Just ask Eric Schmidt how many secrets he kept while on Apple's board.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If these programmers...

    are so talented they should start their own company, contract with the ones they feel unable to work at, and most likely will make more than they would workign at one of them. People are afraid to take risks, but not to sue. That's why lawsuits of certain types (e.g., time wasters) should have penalties for failure.

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