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DOJ Tells Lucasfilm To Turn Away From The Dark Side

Posted  February 3, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice’s crusade against anticompetitive employment practices at high-tech companies continues, this time with a settlement with Lucasfilm Ltd.

In a complaint filed with the settlement in federal district court in Washington, D.C., the DOJ alleges that Lucasfilm agreed with Walt Disney’s animation studio, Pixar, as far back as 2005, that neither company would solicit each other’s employees for hire, both companies would give notice before hiring employees away from each other, and in cases where offers were made to each other’s employees, neither would make a higher counteroffer.

Earlier last year, the DOJ reached settlements with six other high-tech companies – Pixar, Apple, Google, Adobe Systems, Intel, and Intuit – that bars them from entering into anticompetitive agreements to not solicit each other’s employees.  Because the earlier settlement will prevent Pixar from entering into anticompetitive employment agreements, the DOJ announced that its recent complaint did not need to name Pixar as a defendant.

Under the proposed final judgment, which if approved by the court would be in effect for five years, Lucasfilm would be barred from entering into anticompetitive hiring agreements and would engage in affirmative steps to ensure compliance with the settlement.

This is not the first time these two firms’ names have appeared together; Lucasfilm and Pixar have enjoyed a relatively long history.  Pixar was established after Apple’s Steve Jobs purchased the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm in 1986 and renamed it Pixar.

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