A US judge has ordered to go ahead with a lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and four other technology firms for allegedly conspiring not to poach each other's employees to keep salaries in check.
The lawsuit alleges that they illegally agreed not to hire each other's employees, by reportedly engaging in a 'no poaching' deal.
Other defendants in the lawsuit included Lucasfilm, Pixar, Intuit, and Adobe Systems who were allegedly participated in the scheme not to hire each other's employees.
The district Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, has refused attempts by the companies' to dismiss the case before it went to trial.
Judge Koh was reported by Reuters as saying 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 said the existence of "Do Not Cold Call" agreements among various defendants "supports the plausible inference that the agreements were negotiated, reached, and policed at the highest levels" of the companies.
The case was brought by five ex-employees of the firms who are suing the firms under the federal Sherman antitrust law and California's own antitrust law, the Cartwright Act.