Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Corp and four other technology companies were ordered by a judge to face an antitrust lawsuit claiming they illegally agreed not to poach each other's employees.
District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, rejected the companies' bid to dismiss claims brought under the Sherman Act and California state law, in a decision released Wednesday night.
Other defendants in the case included Adobe Systems Inc, Intuit Inc, Walt Disney Co's Pixar unit and Lucasfilm Ltd.
The proposed class action lawsuit was brought by five software engineers, who accused the companies of conspiring to depress employee pay by eliminating competition for skilled labor.
The case is In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-02509.
(Reporting By Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)