A federal judge Friday ordered former IBM manager, Mark Papermaster, to step back from his position at Apple following a lawsuit alleging he was in breach of a non-compete agreement he signed while working for Big Blue.
Late in October news emerged of IBM’s impending lawsuit against its former vice president of microprocessor technology development. While Apple had yet to make an official announcement about any new employees climbing on board, IBM let the cat out of the bag when court documents claimed that Papermaster had filed a noncompete agreement in 2006 and so, was not allowed to work for the Apple. Apple announced early last week that Papermaster would be joining the company as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, reporting to Steve Jobs himself. However, the aforementioned agreement banned Papermaster from working for a competitor for a full year after leaving the company.
While IBM’s suit may seem perfectly reasonable, ComputerWorld reports that Papermaster’s own court filings said when he handed in his notice on October 13, and informed the company of his decision to move to Apple, IBM accepted his two weeks notice rather than asking him to leave the company immediately.
Mr. Papermaster says that IBM’s decision to allow him to continue working at the company (with unfettered access to all of his files and to the company’s entire computer network) with full knowledge of his plans to move to Apple, meant the company’s claim that it would suffer irreparable harm or hardship due to ’inevitable disclosure’ of ’trade secrets’ was absurd.
According to ComputerWorld, Papermaster was contacted by Apple in January regarding a position in the company, which he refused. Apple contacted Papermaster again in September of this year and met with Steve Jobs. Papermaster was offered a counteroffer from IBM but moved to Apple, referring to the post as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”