According to a court filing that has been made public this week, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs threatened to file a patent lawsuit against Palm unless they agreed to refrain from poaching Apple employees.

The communication from Jobs surfaced in a civil lawsuit brought by five tech workers against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Corp and others, alleging an illegal conspiracy to eliminate competition for each other’s employees and drive down wages.

Jobs proposed eliminating competition between the two companies for talent and suggested that if Palm did not agree they could face lawsuits alleging infringement of Apple’s patents.

In 2010, Google, Apple, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel, Intuit Inc and Walt Disney Co’s Pixar unit agreed to a settlement of a U.S. Justice Department probe that bars them from agreeing to refrain from poaching each other’s employees.

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