Law360 reports that A123 filed the suit on February 6th alleging that Apple hired away five employees that were under contracts with noncompete, nonsolicit, and nondisclosure obligations. The employees developed new battery technology and products for the company, as well as tested existing products.
The battery maker said its employees Mujeeb Ijaz, Don Dafoe, Michael Erickson, Depeng Wang and Indrajeet Thorat left A123 under suspicious circumstances. All were part of the company's System Venture Technologies Division, which Ijaz headed before leaving in June, with remaining employees leaving this year, according to the suit. Erickson, Wang and Thorat are PhD scientists who were each in charge of separate projects, the suit said.
A123 says that since June, Apple has been mounting "an aggressive campaign to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123's business."
"In the wake of defendants Erickson, Wang and Thorat's departures, the projects that each was individually and principally responsible for have been effectively shut down for lack of PhD employees to replace them."
A123 says it warned Apple about its contracts with the employees and wanted promises that they would not compete with the company. Apple eventually stopped responding to letters from the company.
To make its case, A123 is using emails left by some of the employees on company computers and an alleged attempt by Ijax to solicit collaborator SiNode Systems on Apple's behalf.