Apple and A123 Systems Nearing Settlement in Battery Engineer Poaching Lawsuit
Apple and A123 Systems are close to reaching a settlement in an ongoing battery engineer poaching lawsuit between the two companies, according to The Boston Globe. A123 Systems, an advanced battery manufacturer, originally filed suit against Apple in February for poaching key battery engineering employees to join its own automative team, including former chief technology officer Mujeeb Ijaz.
"On Tuesday, a federal judge granted A123 more time to finalize the settlement with Apple," reports The Boston Globe. "In a court filing, the two sides reported that they 'have reached an agreement, signed a term sheet, and are in the process of drafting a final settlement agreement.'"
Apple's much-rumored automotive team reportedly consists of hundreds of employees, including several former Tesla, Ford and GM employees and other talent from smaller firms such as A123 Systems, MIT Motorsports, Ogin, Autoliv, Concept Systems and General Dynamics. The team is believed to be working on an auto-related project, possibly involving an electric and potentially autonomous vehicle.
It was reported in late February that Apple is also looking to hire Samsung employees with expertise in battery technology, confirmed by a Samsung official that said some personnel have been hired by the iPhone maker. Apple reportedly has a "top-secret research lab" located near its Cupertino-based headquarters for its automotive project, but likely remains in the early stages of research and development.
Rumors about the so-called "Apple car" have gained momentum since camera-equipped Dodge Caravans leased to Apple started appearing in California earlier this year. The first sightings of the vans were actually in New York last summer, with vehicles spotted in Manhattan and Brooklyn in August and September respectively. The vans have since been spotted in at least six other states.
MacRumors has been tracking the Apple vans, which are likely being used for an unrelated Street View-like mapping project, for the past several months. We have created an interactive Google Maps tracker of the van sightings featuring pins that can be clicked on to view a photo or video of each van. To date, there have been over 30 sightings spanning Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada, New York and Texas.