U.S. judge orders Apple executive to stop work

“A U.S. District Court judge in New York ordered a newly hired Apple Inc. executive to stop work immediately because he might be violating an agreement with his former employer, IBM,” David Lawsky reports for Reuters.

“Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains ordered that Mark Papermaster ‘immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc until further order of this court,'” Lawsky reports.

“Apple announced on Tuesday that Papermaster would lead the engineering teams making Apple’s highly successful iPods and iPhones and that he would report directly to Chief Executive Steve Jobs. On Friday it said he would cease work for now,” Lawsky reports.

“‘We will comply with the court’s order but are confident that Mark Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when the dust settles,’ a spokesman said,” Lawsky reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mark” for the heads up.]

38 Comments

  1. Keep reading the news, kids. Papermaster’s been misquoted and based on his comments, IBM has little to stand on.

    Just like squeaky wheels get the oil, a lousy case gets squeaky when there’s not much else to do.

  2. We will comply with the court’s order but are confident that Mark Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when the dust settles

    …. or when the terms of the agreement expire.

    Obviously Papermaster has talent, to be chosen for such a position.

    But is he THAT good, to be worth waging a costly and bruising legal war over?

    If the terms are illegal and/or unenforceable, fine. Knock them down.
    I’d just hate to see a battle where only the lawyers come out ahead.

  3. The judge issued an order preventing Papermaster from working for Apple because if he starts working, and it turns out he is in violation of the non-compete agreement, even the judge can’t undo the work already done. The injunction shows that IBM has a legal argument, not that IBM is correct.

    The judge will hear evidence and legal arguments from both sides, unless IBM and Apple reach a settlement. Then the judge will make his ruling. In any event, Papermaster only has a one-year non-compete agreement, so this time next year he’ll be working for Apple in the worst-case scenario.

    Regarding the “at will” employment discussions: those only apply if you don’t have an employment contract. Once you sign an employment contract, your at will status goes out the window. The terms of the employment contract govern your rights at that point.

    And people can stop whining about “if this was in California . . . “. It’s not. IBM chose New York as the jurisdiction and venue for a reason, probably most importantly that it’s NOT California. Get over it.

  4. “Moral of the story…work for IBM and you’ll never work for anyone else.”

    Moral of the story, don’t make legally binding agreements that you later want to ignore.

    Papermaster freely admits he agreed not to work for IBM’s competitors for a year and everyone accepts that IBM offered him a year’s salary to stick to his word.

    What he’s saying now is that IBM and Apple are not competitors.

    Maybe not, but IBM disagrees. Since he’s a PPC expert and both Apple and IBM have PPC chip divisions now, and IBM also still markets PC to customers and IBM and Apple both sell Unix servers and IBM’s design and consulting services have designed MP3 players and IBM sells desktop word processors, databases and spreadsheets and mail software and Apple sells desktop word processors, databases, spreadsheets and mail software and IBM makes software development tools and Apple makes development tools and IBM does cellphone software and Apple does cellphone software, that claim seems a little ridiculous.

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