Battery maker A123 Systems has filed a lawsuit against Apple, and five former A123 employees, claiming Apple poached the five key engineers to work in a new battery technology division at the Cupertino company.
The battery maker claims that these hires violated agreements it had in place to prevent them from joining competing companies.
A new report claims says the employees are Don Dafoe, Michael Erickson, Indrajeet Thorat, Mujeeb Ijaz, and Depeng Wang. Three of the employees – Erickson, Thorat, and Wang – were PhD project heads working on new battery technology. Ijaz was head of the System Venture Technologies Division.
A123 claims the departure of the five employees has left the company’s projects “dead in the water,” with the company unable to find qualified replacements. The company claims it found emails on work computers showing correspondence between its former engineers and Apple employees, leading them to believe the workers had been poached.
The A123 Systems lawsuit charges that its former employees breached their non-compete contracts, and says Apple engaged in “unfair competition,” among other charges.
The lawsuit is certain to add more fuel to the rumors that Apple is developing a car, as A123 Systems creates “advanced energy storage solutions” for transportation and commercial products.