Tim Cook to Get Deposition Order in Antitrust Case

US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple CEO Tim Cook to give a deposition in a lawsuit which alleges that technology companies–including Apple–violated antitrust laws by signing an agreement to refrain from recruiting each other’s employees.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of employees who claim that Google, Intel, Adobe Systems Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar animation unit, Intuit Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd. and Apple settled with the US Justice Department in 2010, following a probe, and also claims the aforementioned companies agreed to “refrain from placing ‘cold calls’ to lure workers from competitors.”

According to Bloomberg, Koh told lawyers that Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs received copies of email messages relating to the issue in the case, and she had difficulty believing that Tim Cook, who was at the time in question Apple’s CEO, wasn’t consulted regarding this matter.

Koh was disappointed that senior executives of the aforementioned companies targeted by this private lawsuit hadn’t been deposed before yesterday’s hearing “over whether she should certify the case as a group lawsuit,” the news agency reported.

In response to Koh’s requests, lawyers agreed that Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, should make a deposition on February 20, while lawyers for the employees will also ask Paul Ottelini, Intel’s Chief Executive Officer, to complete his deposition later in January.

Robert Mittelstaedt, the attorney representing the companies involved, argued that there is no evidence that all parties in the proposed class were injured, a burden that must be met in order for a class action lawsuit to proceed.

According to an earlier investigation, the government concluded back in 2005 that senior Adobe and Apple executives reached an agreement not to “cold-call” each other’s employees. As a result, Adobe ended up on an internal Apple “do-not-call” list, and Adobe placed Apple on a list of “companies that are off-limits.”

Google joined the same agreement a year later, and in 2007 Pixar, Intel and Intuit also entered into no-cold-calling agreement.

[Via: Bloomberg]

Written by Istvan Fekete; Edited by Mike Crook