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Color employee sues over 'blocked' opportunity at Apple

A former employee of Color claims he was a victim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" when he was left out from the move.

A former employee of Color, a company recently acquired by Apple, is suing the company and its CEO Bill Nguyen over claims that he was a victim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" when he was intentionally left out from the move to Apple.

Adam Witherspoon, a founding employee of Color, is seeking damages including payback for lost wages and benefits.

Nguyen is named as a defendant, accused of blocking Witherspoon's job opportunities at Apple, offering him a minimal severance package and communicating to others that Witherspoon was being punished for cooperating with an investigation into Nguyen's activities in the company, according to the lawsuit.

Tech Crunch notes that these claims include the suggestion that: "Defendant Nguyen was spending corporate funds on numerous personal items, such as charging personal items on Color's American Express card and putting his family's nanny, Sally Orr, and his family's Lake Tahoe-based ski instructor, Hillary Governer, on Color's payroll."

The case offers clarification that Apple had acquired the company, confirming that Apple has hired Color's engineering team and taken control of "key assets".

Back in October we reported that Apple was buying Color Labs, a streaming video and photo sharing network. The company was founded by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham in 2011 with an unprecedented $41 million in pre-launch funding. It was thought that Apple may have acquired the company for its intellectual property, which includes a patent for a file format that could be used to record HD video - many of Colors patents could be useful for FaceTime.

TechCrunch has confirmed with sources involved that Apple paid $7 million to acquire Color, higher than the $2 million to $5 million range that had been reported.

Also in October we reported that Apple had acquired the HTML5 team at Particle, a consulting company that specialises in web applications and marketing projects using HTML5. Steve Jobs praised HTML5 as an alternative to Flash, which he refused to support on the iPad or iPhone pointing to instability and security issues.

Follow Karen Haslam on Twitter / Follow MacworldUK on Twitter

Related:

Apple to acquire Color Labs for FaceTime-related patents?

Apple to pay $368m for infringing patents in FaceTime

Why Steve Jobs was right about HTML5

Time for web developers to turn back on Flash

Berners-Lee brings tech rivals together to work on HTML5


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