If rumors about Apple seriously considering developing an electric car weren’t already picking up steam, the latest lawsuit filed against the tech giant should add more than enough fuel to the fire.
A123 Systems, a company that specializes in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, has accused Apple of aggressively poaching their employees. The suit names five Apple engineers that were reportedly poached from A123 as defendants, claiming they targeted employees who had extensive experience in battery development with companies such as Panasonic, Samsung and LG Electronics.
“It appears that Apple, with the assistance of Ijaz, is systematically hiring away A123’s high tech Ph.D and engineering employees, thereby effectively shutting down various projects/programs at A123,” states the lawsuit available online. “They are doing so in an effort to support Apple’s apparent plans to establish a battery division that is similar if not identical to A123’s.”
A quick look at search results on LinkedIn profiles of current Apple employees and their past employment does show an interesting trend of former automotive engineers from companies like Tesla who have expertise in in the auto industry that would support A123’s claims.
The goal of the lawsuit is to prevent employees who leave A123 from sharing sensitive information and technology with Apple and prevent them from going after other potential employees. They’re also seeking an unnamed amount of damages.
Apple has yet to confirm or deny rumors about an electric car after the Wall Street Journal covered the story late last week. The fact that Apple has begun to shift focus on advanced battery technology doesn’t imply that they’re indeed working on a car, but with the timing of the report and the filing of the lawsuit, it appears that is where Apple is headed.