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Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:40 pm PT (03:40 pm ET)

Judge refuses to dismiss staff poaching suit against Apple, Pixar, Google

Apple and a number of other technology and entertainment companies, including Google and Pixar, continue to face the prospect of a class-action antitrust suit over an anti-poaching agreement.

Judge Lucy Koh, a district judge in San Jose, Calif., rejected a bid by seven total companies involved in the suit to dismiss the claims, according to Reuters. Other companies named in the suit are Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Lucasfilm.

The complaint alleges that the seven companies illegally conspired to not poach each others' employees. It asserts that any agreements were made in violation of the Sherman antitrust law and California's Cartwright Act.

"The fact that all six identical bilateral agreements were reached in secrecy among seven defendants in a span of two years suggests that these agreements resulted from collusion, and not from coincidence," Koh wrote in her decision issued on Wednesday evening.

Because of the lawsuit, it was revealed this January that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs personally asked then-Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt via e-mail to end worker poaching. The note was sent in March of 2007.

"I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this," Jobs wrote to Schmidt, who then forwarded the correspondence to members of his own staff. One staffing director responded that the employee responsible for the recruitment would have their job "terminated within the hour."