Apple, electric car battery maker settle employee-poaching lawsuit

A123 and Apple began discussing a settlement in March

Scene outside the California Theater in San Jose ahead of an Apple product launch on October 23, 2012

Scene outside the California Theater in San Jose ahead of an Apple product launch on October 23, 2012

Apple and A123 Systems have settled a lawsuit that alleged Apple violated non-compete clauses after it hired five employees from the lithium-ion battery maker.

A123 has agreed to dismiss its complaint and waive the right to appeal, according to court documents filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

The companies raised the possibility of settling the case in March. At that time, Apple asked the court for more time to respond to A123's motions since it was "exploring potential resolution of this matter," according to court filings.

Last month, Apple and A123 said in another court filing that they were close to a deal but needed another deadline extension to complete a final settlement agreement.

A123 sued Apple in February claiming it poached top talent from the Waltham, Massachusetts, company to setup a battery division. The batteries, A123 alleged, would be used to power the electric car that Apple is rumored to be developing. The loss of those workers, which included two key engineers, caused A123 to shut down some of its main projects, the company claimed. The lawsuit increased speculation that Apple is working on a vehicle.

After entering bankruptcy in 2012, most of A123's business was sold to Wanxiang Group, a Chinese automotive part manufacturer.

Neither Apple nor A123 immediately replied to a request for comment.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'

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