Former IBM exec Mark Papermaster has asked the courts for an expedited appeal of an injunction forbidding him from working for Apple Inc. while a court challenge to that work from IBM also proceeds. IBM won the injunction shortly after it sued Mr. Papermaster in November of 2008, accusing him of violating a non-compete contract he signed with Big Blue.
Internet News reported that court documents filed by IBM revealed the appeal, and that they also revealed a request from IBM to temporarily halt the initial trial while the expedited appeal for the injunction ran its course. Possibly a delaying action on IBM's behalf, the trial judge dismissed the company's request, allowing both the injunction appeal and the trial to proceed in parallel.
"In IBM's view it does not make any sense to be pursuing an expedited appeal of the preliminary injunction at the same time that the parties are preparing for an early trial," said the memo submitted by IBM's lawyers, Cravath, Swaine and Moore.
The friction involving Mr. Papermaster between Apple and IBM is centered around IBM's concern that trade secrets and other information crucial to IBM's processor and blade businesses could be spilled to Apple should Mr. Papermaster be allowed to work for the company.
Mr. Papermaster was most recently Vice President of Blade Development at IBM, but has also been a big part of the development of IBM's Power line of processors. Apple recently bought P.A. Semi, a semiconductor company many think Apple plans to use in future generations of the iPod, iPhone, or other such devices. Apple does not compete in the blade server market, but does have a line of rackmount Xserve computers.
Apple hired Mr. Papermaster to replace outgoing vice president Tony Fadell, and to be Vice President of Devices at Apple. As such, Apple has argued that Mr. Papermaster's IBM trade secrets will not be pertinent at his new job, and Mr. Papermaster has countersued IBM saying his non-compete contract was too broad.
In the meanwhile, the original lawsuit is set to go to trial on February 24th, 2009.