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DOJ announces settlement with eBay in antitrust suit

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday announced a settlement with eBay in a lawsuit accusing the company of making deals with Intuit [corporate websites] not to recruit each others' employees. The deal between the two parties bars the company from engaging in any type of non-compete agreements with other companies that would potentially restrict hiring or recruiting. The deal also included restitution and penalties of $3.75 million that will go towards compensating affected individuals employed by eBay or Intuit since 2005. During a conference call [press release] regarding the settlement, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer [official profile] stated "eBay's agreement with Intuit served no purpose but to limit competition between the two firms for employees, distorting the labor market and causing employees to lose opportunities for better jobs and higher pay. ... The behavior was blatant and egregious. And the agreements were fully documented in company electronic communications." The settlement puts to rest a 2012 civil antitrust lawsuit [JURIST report] that brought allegations of antitrust violations including the Sherman Act.

The DOJ has recently been involved in other antitrust lawsuits involving alleged violations of the Sherman Act. In July the US District Court for the Southern District of of New York found [JURIST report] technology giant Apple guilty of e-book price fixing. The judge found that Apple had engaged in an e-book price fixing conspiracy with major publishers to increase the price of their e-books, violating various state statutes and the Sherman Act. In September 2012 the same court had approved a settlement [JURIST report] between the Department of Justice and publishers Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over allegations of e-book price fixing. Apple, MacMillan, and Penguin chose to not accept the settlement and continue litigation. EBay has also been involved in litigation over trademark infringement in recent years as well. In July 2011 the EU Court of Justice ruled [JURIST report] that eBay may be liable on the part of its users for infringing cosmetic producer L'Oreal's trademarks. In July 2010 Connecticut company XPRT Ventures LLC filed suit [JURIST report] against eBay in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, claiming infringement of six patents for online auctions and payment systems.

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