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A123 Systems Sues Apple for Taking Away Its Engineers

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/19/2015 Kelly Pleskot
A123 Systems Sues Apple for Taking Away Its Engineers

A123 Systems, which has supplied batteries to General Motors and Fisker over the years, has experienced a number of setbacks, including a major product recall and a bankruptcy filing in 2012. It now says it is facing another challenge with engineers leaving the company to work for Apple, which is reportedly developing its own battery technologies for electric cars.

The ill-fated battery-maker has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Massachusetts federal court, claiming that the poaching of hard-to-replace engineers has forced A123 to shut down several projects. Five former A123 engineers have also been sued for moving to Apple, with one of them accused of helping Apple recruit people within the battery company. The employees left to work on similar projects at Apple, allegedly going against their employment agreements with A123. The lawsuit says the tech giant's intent in taking away valuable engineers was to support its "apparent plans to establish a battery division that is similar if not identical to A123's, in competition with A123." The document also claims Apple has been preying on engineers from Samsung, LG Chem, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Johnson Controls to join its ranks.

a123-systems-battery-varieties-3© Provided by MotorTrend a123-systems-battery-varieties-3

It's no big secret Apple has an interest in cars. Not only has it developed CarPlay, enabling drivers to integrate their iPhones with a vehicle's infotainment system, but it is reportedly looking to make electric vehicles. Codenamed Project Titan, this plan reportedly involves working on an early EV that would resemble a minivan. If it wanted to, Apple certainly has the resources to develop an electric car, carrying $178 billion in its pockets, or more than seven times the cash capabilities of GM, according to Automotive News. Fellow Silicon Valley tech giant Google has already immersed itself in the automotive field, developing its own autonomous car prototypes.

Source: Reuters, Automotive News

Related Story: Google can disrupt car industry but is no automaker, Daimler says

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