Apple Inc. is pursuing a resolution to the lawsuit filed by battery maker A123 Systems Inc. over Apple’s efforts to poach high-level battery engineers and chemists, according to a filing made on Tuesday in the federal district court in Massachusetts.
In the filing, Apple requested for an extension until March 11 to file a response to the lawsuit while it claims a settlement. A123 supported the delay, according to the filing. The lawsuit claims that five employees quit Waltham, Mass. – based battery company to work for Apple, starting last year and that one of the employees actively recruited others, breaching the contract signed by the employees.
A123 strongly believes Apple is trying to start a battery operation to compete its own business with the help of the employees who were involved in advanced automotive battery applications. The Tech bulletin had reported a month ago that Apple was working on a project called ‘Titan’ to manufacture the electric car and the company was hiring more than 500 people in the team.
A123 Systems is a pioneering industrial lithium-ion battery maker, which was backed by a $249 million U.S. government grant. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and has been selling off assets. Lithium-ion is a battery technology that can be used in applications from computers to airplanes, but A123 specializes in big batteries that can be used in big machines, including cars. A123 did not say what specifically the engineers worked on.
The battery maker claims the poaching had crippled its current battery projects and the workers who were hired by Apple were very difficult to replace as those employees hold high technical expertise in the field.
Recent reports suggest Apple is already trying to reach a settlement with the firm with the extension of the time period.