Apple Sued for Poaching Auto Engineers to Build Battery Division
A lawsuit filed by electric car maker A123 in the Massachusetts federal court could serve as further evidence of Apple’s “iCar” plans. The iPhone maker has been poaching A123’s high-tech PhD and engineering employees, which led to the shutdown of various projects and programs at the battery manufacturer, the lawsuit alleges (via Reuters).
Earlier last week, a rumour surfaced that Apple may be working on a car. Shortly afterwards, industry reports surfaced showing that Apple has been poaching engineers with expertise in car systems, including Tesla. (You can read about Apple and Tesla here.)
According to the lawsuit, Apple started poaching A123 engineers around June 2014 with the help of former A123 executive Mujeeb Ijaz.
The company also sued five former A123 employees, who could not be reached for comment.
Apart from the five defendants, at least six other ex-A123 engineers had moved over to Apple, according to their LinkedIn profiles, though with titles like “Technical Program Manager,” their duties at Apple are unclear.
Reuters had no information about the engineers Apple lured away from the battery maker, but this is where 9to5Mac steps in. The blog has a list of engineers Apple hired away to build an electric car.
The engineers named in the post came from Tesla, Ford, and other notable automotive related areas. According to 9to5Mac, the majority of employees on the list are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky, a former Ford executive.
So, just to mention a couple names: Robert Gough from Autoliv; former Tesla engineer David Nelson; Pete Augenbergs, also an ex-Tesla employee; David Perner, former Ford engineer; Jim Cuseo former chief power train engineer at Ford, and others. You can find the full list here.
In the end, as Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt puts it, Apple gets “sued when it poaches. Sued when it doesn’t”.