Apple in settlement talks with car battery maker A123 Systems

The company has asked for an extension to respond to A123's charges, citing discussions for a resolution

Apple is in talks to settle a lawsuit filed by electric-car battery maker A123 Systems, which has charged the iPhone maker with poaching five of its employees to set up a new battery division.

The lawsuit has added fuel to reports that Apple is getting into the electric-car business.

Apple filed a motion Tuesday that requested the court for more time to file its response to A123's motions as it and the five engineers charged "are exploring potential resolution of this matter."

A123 alleged in its complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that the engineers had worked at its System Ventures Technologies division in Waltham, Massachusetts, which does research and development in the area of lithium-ion battery technology.

Since June last year, Apple went on "an aggressive campaign" to poach A123's employees and otherwise raid the company's business in connection with Apple's plans to set up a competing large-scale battery division, according to the complaint, which alleged that Apple had also targeted employees with experience in A123's battery business at LG, Samsung and other companies.

A123 said it was filing the suit to prevent its ex-employees from using or sharing proprietary information, and also to prevent Apple from hiring more employees from A123. It also asked for an unspecified amount in damages.

The judge has extended the deadline for Apple to respond to March 11, according to court records.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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