Apple, Google, Adobe and three other companies have failed in a bid to fend off a US antitrust suit, in which they are accused of an illegal hiring conspiracy.
Apple, Google, Adobe and three other companies have failed in a bid to fend off a US antitrust suit, in which they are accused of an illegal hiring conspiracy. Image credit: James Martin/CNET News
On Wednesday, San Jose district judge Lucy Koh rejected attempts by the companies — Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, Pixar and Lucasfilm — to have the case thrown out, although she did dismiss one of the claims in the case, which had to do with Californian employment law.
Each of the companies was either under the control of Steve Jobs or shared a board member with Apple during the period in question, between 2005 and 2007. The plaintiffs say the companies had set up a web of bilateral agreements banning 'cold call' poaching attempts, which is what the DoJ had already found.
The defendants tried to argue that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate an active, overarching conspiracy. Koh disagreed.
"The fact that all six identical bilateral agreements were reached in secrecy among seven defendants in a span of two years suggests that these agreements resulted from collusion, and not from coincidence," Koh said in her ruling, adding that the plaintiffs' allegations were plausible.
In court filings released at the start of this year, a 2007 email conversation between Jobs and Google's then-chief executive, Eric Schmidt, came to light.
"I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this," Jobs had written after Google tried to poach an Apple engineer. Google apologised and promised to fire the recruiter.