In a surprising turn of events, tech giant Apple has dropped its longstanding lawsuit against Gerard Williams III, a former chip executive who was accused of poaching employees. The case had been ongoing for over three years, with Williams leaving Apple to co-found Nuvia, a chip design firm. The company had initially claimed that Williams had secretly started Nuvia and had been recruiting talent for his startup whilst still employed at Apple. However, Williams had disputed these allegations and accused the company of snooping on his text messages.
Apple’s request to dismiss the case against Williams was filed earlier this week, with the document stating that the decision was made “with prejudice,” meaning that the company cannot reinstate the claim against Williams. It is thought that the two sides may have come to a settlement, although Apple has yet to confirm this.
The case had become mired in controversy, with Apple seeking the recusal of Judge Sunil Kulkarni in the weeks leading up to the dismissal request. The company had hired lawyers from legal firm Morrison and Foerster, where Judge Kulkarni had previously worked for 13 years. The judge had disclosed that he had kept in contact with two of the lawyers from the firm and had held an informal meeting with both sides to discuss the situation.
In a brief filed in response to the potential recusal of Judge Kulkarni, Williams and his legal team had argued that Apple’s position on the matter was “prejudicial” against their client and had the potential to be “disruptive.” They also disputed the idea that it was Apple that had introduced a potential conflict of interest to the case.
Since the court hearings that followed, there has been little to no word from either side regarding the case’s dismissal. While it remains unclear whether a settlement was reached or what the ultimate reasons were for Apple’s decision to drop the lawsuit, the tech giant will no longer pursue legal action against Williams.