PhotoLucasfilm and Pixar have settled an anti-poaching suit, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.

The Mercury News says that the judge in the case “indicated she has received a letter from lawyers in the case disclosing the two companies have settled their part of the hotly contested case, leaving five companies in the litigation.”

“The order did not disclose the terms of the settlement,” the story says.

The settlement is part of an ongoing legal battle in which the software engineer plaintiffs claim that a number of companies agreed not to recruit -- or “poach” -- each other’s employees, thereby foreclosing job opportunities and also deflating salaries.

The original complaint, which alleged violations of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and California’s Cartwright Act, claimed that Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit were all privy to the agreement.

Class action status denied

In April, Judge Lucy Koh, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denied class action status to the suit, writing that the proposed class definition was too broad.

“The court is most concerned about whether the evidence will be able to show that the defendants maintained such rigid compensation structures that a suppression of wages to some employees would have affected all or nearly all class members,” Koh wrote.

"The court is also concerned that plaintiffs' proposed classes may be defined so broadly as to include large numbers of people who were not necessarily harmed by defendants' allegedly unlawful conduct.”

During the course of the litigation, it was revealed that Steve Jobs, Apple’s late CEO, wrote an email to Google’s Eric Schmidt in March 2007 asking that his company to stop recruiting Apple employees.

"I would be very pleased if [Google’s] recruiting department would stop doing this,” Jobs’s email said.


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