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Govt sues eBay over noncompetition agreement

Pete Yost, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department is suing eBay Inc., accusing the company of eliminating a significant form of competition by agreeing with Intuit Inc. not to hire each other's employees.

The government says the agreement was enforced at the highest levels of both companies and barred either firm from soliciting each other's employees. The agreement allegedly harmed workers by likely depriving them of access to better jobs and salaries.

The two companies compete directly for specialized computer engineers and scientists.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent eBay from enforcing the agreement and from making similar agreements with other companies.

According to the complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., the agreement was in place from 2006 to 2009. Intuit is already subject to a settlement barring it from making such agreements.