Stories are circulating that say BP is doing exactly that, searching for prominent scientists who will work for BP and thus not be available to work against BP.
According to ai.com:
For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.
BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.
The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.
Nice move, BP, really looks like you're trying to solve problems with this attempt to buy scientists. Tweet