Lithium iron phosphate battery manufacturer A123 Systems is suing Apple Inc. for alledgedly poaching five key members of its staff.
A123 has accused five former employees of violating Invention, Non-Disclosure, Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation agreements in the lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court on February 13.
With the exception of one, all of the defendants ended their employment with A123 and began working for Apple, claim A123.
The lawsuit states: “Beginning in or around June of 2014, defendant Apple embarked on an aggressive campaign to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123’s business.”
The defendants, including three PhD scientists and an engineer, were each in charge of separate projects reporting to A123’s system technologies division.
They were responsible for developing and testing new battery technology and products and validating and testing existing battery technology and products while at A123.
Each project the defendants were responsible for has been effectively shut down for lack of PhD employees to replace them, claims A123 in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123.
It is rumoured the California-based technology company is working on a secretive electric-vehicle project, code-named Titan. Although whether this involves a car is unclear.
Founded in 2001, A123’s proprietary Nanophosphate technology is built on nanoscale materials initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Today, A123 Systems is headquartered in Livonia, MI and employs more than 2,000 people worldwide.
The case is A123 Systems LLC v. Apple Inc., 15-cv-10438, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).