Apple CEO Tim Cook Ordered To Give A Deposition In Antitrust Lawsuit

Posted Jan 19, 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook was ordered to give a deposition in a lawsuit that claims Apple and other technology companies violated antitrust laws by getting into agreements where they would not recruit each other’s employees according to Bloomberg.  Defendants in this lawsuit include Google, Intel, Adobe Systems, Pixar, Intuit, and Lucasfilm.  U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued the deposition at a hearing earlier this week.

This lawsuit was brought on behalf of employees.  The companies settled with the U.S. Justice Department after a probe.  In the case, companies had agreed not to place “cold calls” to hire workers from competitors.  Judge Koh said that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails in the case.  Judge Koh said that it was “hard to believe” that Cook wouldn’t have ben consulted about agreements.

Judge Koh said that she was disappointed senior executives at the companies were not deposed before this past week’s hearing.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will be deposed on February 20th also.  Intel CEO Paul Otellini will be deposed later this month.

Robert Mittelstaedt, a lawyer for the companies, said that the employees’ lawyers have not demonstrated that the class of employees were hurt by agreements.  The employees include engineers, sous chefs, assistants, etc.  When a settlement was made in 2010, the Justice Department said the companies kept do-not-call lists to avoid competitive recruiting.

In May 2005, Adobe and Apple agreed not to call each other’s employees.  Adobe was put on an internal Apple “do-not-call” list.  Adobe also put Apple on a list of “companies that are off- limits.”  Apple and Google put each other on internal do-not-call lists starting in 2006.  In 2007, Apple and Pixar agreed not to call each other’s staff.  Google also entered a no-cold-calling agreement with Intel and Intuit.

This case was labeled In Re High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-2509, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).  The previous lawsuit was labeled U.S. v. Adobe Systems, 10-cv-1629, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).