Apple has settled a court case with A123 Systems (via BBC), a battery company based in Massachusetts from which Apple hired some senior employees. A123 had filed a claim accusing Apple of poaching its engineers, particularly those leading key projects at the battery firm. The basis of the suit was that A123 claimed Apple was hiring the employees in order to build its own “large-scale battery division,” per the original court filing, in order to compete directly with A123.
Speculation about Apple’s intent for a battery division has varied. The company clearly makes use of advanced batteries in its existing lineup of devices, including the iPhone and Apple Watch. The new MacBook, for instance, uses a scalloped battery design to help it fit more power into its unique, tapered shell. But A123’s expertise appears to range into batteries aimed at larger hardware – including cars.
Apple’s rumored work on cars was a hot topic of speculation earlier this year, especially after the company’s list of related hires was examined in greater detail. A123’s ex-staff contributed to that round of rumor-fueling, but things have been subsequently relatively quiet on that front.
The details of this settlement between Apple and A123 were not disclosed, but it follows unsuccessful attempts by Apple to have the case thrown out. A123 Systems also filed for bankruptcy back in 2012, and has been liquidating its assets in order to help return to solvency. We’ll likely never find out exactly what transpired here in terms of the details of the settlement, but Apple is probably just happy more information about their plans for the five engineers hired away from A123 didn’t come to light.
Apple declined to comment when contacted by TechCrunch.