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Apple, Google reach $415 million settlement in tech company hiring case

[JURIST] Four tech companies, including Apple and Google [corporate websites] reached a $415 million settlement [motion, PDF] Thursday in a class action lawsuit claiming the companies unlawfully agreed to reduce employee compensation and mobility. The lawsuit was filed against Apple, Google, Intel Corporation and Adobe Systems [corporate websites] by former technical employees for the companies. The plaintiffs alleged that the companies' agreements included "illegal agreements not to recruit each other's employees; illegal agreements to notify each other when making an offer to another's employee; and illegal agreements that, when offering a position to another company's employee, neither company would counteroffer above the initial offer." The agreement was reached after more than three years of litigation, review of millions of pages of documents and more than 80,000 files, and 107 depositions. A previous settlement agreement for $324.5 million dollars was rejected [JURIST report] by the court last August because it was too low.

Both Apple and Google have been faced with several lawsuits in the past year. in September the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] overturned [JURIST report] an order requiring Apple to pay $368.2 million to VirnetX Holding Corp. in a patent dispute. A Hong Kong court ruled [JURIST report] in August that Chinese businessman Dr. Albert Yeung Sau Shing may continue his defamation suit against Google over the autocomplete function of the company's search engine which suggests links connecting Yeung to organized crime groups in China. Last June Apple reached an out-of-court settlement [JURIST report] regarding a class action lawsuit that accused the electronics company of illegally participating in an e-book price-fixing scheme. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled [JURIST report] last May that programming interfaces in Oracle's Java technology can be protected under US copyright law, allowing Oracle to pursue its legal case against Google.

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