Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Disney’s Pixar division and Lucasfilm and four other technology companies were ordered by a judge to face an antitrust lawsuit claiming they illegally conspired not to poach each other’s employees, reports “Reuters” (http://macte.ch/m23lu).
District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, rejected the companies’ bid to dismiss claims brought under the federal Sherman antitrust law and California’s own antitrust law, the Cartwright Act.
In a Wednesday decision, Koh said the existence of “Do Not Cold Call” agreements among various defendants “supports the plausible inference that the agreements were negotiated, reached, and policed at the highest levels” of the companies.
“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 added.
Last May Joseph R. Saveri of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, says Siddharth Hariharan, a former software engineer at Lucasfilm and founder and CEO of InEarth, today filed a class action lawsuit charging that several of the nation’s leading high-tech companies — including Apple — violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix the pay of their employees and entering into “No Solicitation” agreements with each other.
The complaint seeks restitution for lost compensation and treble damages for the anti-competitive employment practices of the aforementioned companies. The complaint alleges the conspiracy among defendants consisted of (1) agreements not to actively recruit each other’s employees; (2) agreements to provide notification when making an offer to another’s employee (without the knowledge or consent of that employee); and (3) agreements to cap pay packages offered to prospective employees at the initial offer.