Judge Lucy Koh shoots down Apple, Google, Intel wage cartel settlement

“Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. have to go back to the negotiating table, or face trial, after a judge rejected their $324.5 million settlement of claims that they schemed to not recruit each other’s workers,” Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg.

“U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, ruled yesterday that the amount proposed by the technology giants and lawyers for the employees wasn’t enough in light of the $9 billion at stake if the case went to a jury,” Rosenblatt reports. “Koh also said the settlement fund should be bigger in light of a $20 million accord reached earlier with three other companies sued by employees — Intuit Inc. and Walt Disney Co.’s animation studio Pixar and visual-effects specialist Lucasfilm Ltd.”

“Whether the case settles or goes to trial, Koh’s ruling stretches out a case filed in 2011 that’s been an embarrassment for Apple and Google in particular by revealing behind-the-scenes brokering among top executives at the expense of their workers. The lawsuit is a private action that mirrors claims the companies settled with the U.S. Justice Department in 2010,” Rosenblatt reports. “Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe employees reached a settlement in May for about 1/10 of the $3 billion they planned to seek at a trial that was set to start four days later. Under federal antitrust law, damages won at a trial might have been tripled.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Judge Koh says she’s concerned about Apple, Google anti-poaching settlement – June 20, 2014
Plaintiff blasts Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel settlement deal in Silicon Valley poaching case – May 12, 2014
Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe settle antitrust hiring case for $324 million – April 24, 2014
Apple, Google, other firms could pay ‘blindingly high’ $9 billion in anti-poaching suit – April 8, 2014
A whiff of settlement in Silicon Valley anti-poaching case – March 28, 2014
Steve Jobs wasn’t okay with Google hiring even former Apple engineers – March 27, 2014
Judge Koh: 60,000 Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case against Apple, Google, others as group – January 14, 2014
Steve Jobs threatened patent suit to enforce no-hire policy, according to court filing – January 23, 2013
Judge Koh orders Apple CEO Tim Cook to four hours of questioning in anti-poaching case – January 17, 2013
Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm fail to get staff-poaching antitrust lawsuit dismissed – April 19, 2012
Court filing: Steve Jobs told Google’s Schmidt to stop poaching workers – January 27, 2012
Did Apple CEO Steve Jobs ask Palm’s Colligan to collude? – August 20, 2009
Did Apple and Google make an anti-poaching deal? – August 9, 2009


  1. Hey Lucy: why don’t you just dock the $1 billion your court owes Apple instead? You know, the amount one of your juries awarded Apple almost 2 years ago, of which they haven’t seen jack shit?

  2. What?!?!? You mean that big, powerful companies cannot limit the employment opportunities and earning power of people? You mean they actually have to compete in the market place for employees? You mean that people should be free to work where they want to work and not be treated like indentured servants? You mean that powerful people should be able to tilt the playing field in their fafor. These radical ideas sound like Free Enterprise and Capitalism.

    1. Well there aren’t many times free enterprise and capitalism work for the individual worker, but in this case it did, it should have, and collusion by the powerful shouldn’t be allowed to impede an individuals right.

      1. When companies cannot trust their employees because of the prospect of them leaving to join a rival taking with them what they know of the projects that they have been working on, then those companies will cease to innovate with the likely hood of future job loses or job insecurity.

        That is the reason why those three companies agreed not to poach each others employees.

        if Judge Koh can find a way to prevent IP insider knowledge from being handed over to a rival under the pretext of furthering the prospective IP thieves career with a higher salary which would be tantamount to paying for stolen goods, then perhaps her concerns would be taken seriously.
        But, and here is the crux, how can she be taken seriously when she is seen to weaken the judicial system by not insisting that Samsung pay up and in a timely fashion what they owe Apple inc. before allowing them to challenge the Jury’s decision?

        If judicial courts are going to determine how industry should conduct itself in hiring, firing, setting remuneration and protecting its IP, then the judicial courts should be prepared to govern the whole Country and do away with the sham that is called “General Elections” to elect presidents, State Governors, senators, mayors, council personnel, sheriffs, police commissioners and every other post in government (Federal, State & Local) that relies on the electorate. Oh! and while they are doing that, they can determine what type of business’s should be created and who should run them and the level of tax they should pay and to whom that tax money goes to.

        Unbelievable is how I would describe the current state of affairs existing in the high courts today!

        Sorry for the rant, I will try to make up by trying not to post again too soon.

        1. And how do you suggest that our society enforce the laws the “legislative legislature” adopts without the “judicial courts?” Apparently you don’t think that people should be able to sue to enforce their rights under the laws adopted by Congress. I guess that we should leave it up to a bunch of guys with beards and assault rifles. It’s a good thing that the Taliban and Islamic State gunmen don’t wear blue jeans and cowboy hats, or we might confuse them with the Americans who hate the rule of law.

        2. I don’t disagree with your premise, and certainly, crazy lucy antics certainly have seemed to weaken any laws prohibiting encroaching on another’s intellectual property rights, it is none the less, completely illegal to collude between business entities for the purposes to restrain free trade, including employees. If you want to have the right to employ on the basis of at will employees, they you have to accept both sides of the sword.

        3. crabapple,

          Feel free to allow any big corporation to control where you work and how much you make. But, please allow the rest of us our freedom in a competitive free market economy.

          Courts and governments should control how industry conducts itself, when it colludes with its members to hold down the earning power and freedom of its employees. This is a classic example of how the Big Boys and Girl are using their power to tilt the playing field in their favor.

          Hey, if they can’t deal with Free Enterprise and Capitalism they are always free to move their business to some place where the government allows them to exploit the population. Lots of luck getting the people who have the creativity and smarts to be leaders in the field.

        4. Crabapple – in a nutshell, your argument is well-written and total bullshit. You don’t get to enjoy the benefits of the free market system when it suits you and, then, do a 180 and subject your employees to restricted competition via collusion to assuage your “fears.”

          The system is already stacked against the individual and small businesses. There is no argument that you can make that justifies this “anti-poaching” agreement. It is illegal and the companies should pay restitution and an appropriate penalty. Case closed.

          I am an Apple shareholder and I still feel this way. Right is right and wrong is wrong and it really is not that hard to tell the difference in this case.

    1. Because she has a personal vendetta against Steve Jobs and Apple. It’s clear from her comments that she had a personal dislike for Jobs and how he operated. She’s taking that out on Apple now.

      I could not understand the reasons why she has ruled as she has so far until I read her comments in this case about Jobs and Apple. She’s basically offended and jealous. She should be taken off the case.

  3. I pointed out this issue back a few days ago here:


    It reads a bit different, consider:

    “It is rare that a court rejects a settlement in an antitrust case,” Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School, said in an e-mail. “But here, the judge’s reasoning makes sense —


    “I cannot recall a judge saying in a class-action case that the amount of settlement is too low and you need to go back and go for broke at trial,” said Daniel Crane, who teaches antitrust law at the University of Michigan Law School. “This is very striking.”

    What is even more striking is this;

    And she [Kohtex] labeled Mr. Jobs, revered in the modern history of technology, as “a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy.”

    Yup, the Kohtex sisters are out to destroy Apple, or at least bleed them for their money as well as rip Steve Jobs apart.

    Just another step for the United Hates in taking out the wannabe in wannabe terrorist and putting the permanent in PMS. Dang they must be happy with their progress, I bet they call in air strikes somewhere.

    1. It’s even more ironic that during Apple-Samsung Koh complained endlessly that the parties need to pare back their claims. That it would be too time-consuming for a jury to process the full breadth of claims that the parties wanted to bring to trial. Now she’s telling the parties that they haven’t offered enough and is herself wasting the court’s time by making the parties come back with a more generous settlement.

      1. Yup, this is not someone who is out for justice, she’s taking advantage of a situation to use as a stepping stone and what a feather in your cap to be the one to bring down Steve Jobs and his company… Apple.

        This is going to get very very very ugly. The media will have a field day.

  4. This issue came out a few days ago here:


    Very different reads, consider:

    “It is rare that a court rejects a settlement in an antitrust case,” Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School, said in an e-mail. “But here, the judge’s reasoning makes sense –”


    “I cannot recall a judge saying in a class-action case that the amount of settlement is too low and you need to go back and go for broke at trial,” said Daniel Crane, who teaches antitrust law at the University of Michigan Law School. “This is very striking.”

    Also very striking, but not surprise is the slant by Kohtex:

    And she [Kohtex] labeled Mr. Jobs, revered in the modern history of technology, as “a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy.”

    Wow, nothing like a bit of slander. Yup the Cohtex sisters are taking Apple to the $$$$$ cleaners and making him an enemy of the United Hates, which in this day and age is not a bad thing. Thanks to them the UH is taking another step at removing the wannabe from wannabe terrorists and putting the Permanent in PMS. I bet there are a lot of happy campers out there, probably having air strikes or something to celebrate.

    1. Yep, and then the big corporations can start dictating terms to their employees. With a little luck we can go back to 6 1/2 day work weeks, unsafe working conditions, company stores, and child labor. What a paradise that will be!!!

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