Court Bars Ex-IBMer from Position at Apple

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Only days after Apple announced that ex-IBM veteran Mark Papermaster would be taking over as chief of its iPod division, a New York court has barred him from taking the position. IBM succeeded on Friday in winning a preliminary injunction to temporarily prevent Papermaster him from working with Apple, due to a contract he signed in 2006.

According to IBM, the non-compete contract Papermaster signed in 2006 prevents him from working for IBM competitors for one year – which Apple qualifies as in the server business. Since Papermaster only left IBM in October and was slated to begin work at Apple in November, IBM claims he has violated the contract. New York Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas granted the company’s injunction on Monday, preventing Papermaster from taking the position until further discussion.

Papermaster objected to the request for an injunction in earlier court documents he filed, calling his job at Apple a “one in a lifetime opportunity,” and insisting it had nothing to do with his work at IBM, where he worked on microprocessor architecture.

Judge Karas’ injunction called for a status conference on Nov. 18, at which point both parties will have a chance to discuss a schedule for discovery and trial.