Apple: Papermaster Starts April 24th, Resolves Litigation with IBM

Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that Mark Papermaster would be starting work at Apple on April 24th, 2009. While Apple is so far being mum on the details, in a statement the company said, "the litigation between IBM and Mark Papermaster has been resolved."

Mr. Papermaster will be starting his career at Apple as vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, and the company said he will be reporting directly to Steve Jobs, who is technically on a medical leave of absence until June of this year. Apple also said that Mr. Papermaster would specifically lead Apple's iPod and iPhone hardware engineering team.

Controversy surrounded the initial hiring of Mr. Papermaster by Apple from IBM, who said that Mr. Papermaster had access to trade secrets that would hurt IBM if Apple were to have access to them. Big Blue sued its executive to keep him from starting at Apple until after a one-year non-compete contract Mr. Papermaster had signed with IBM was complete.

"In his current capacity," IBM wrote in its lawsuit, "Mr. Papermaster has access to confidential know-how and other sensitive information that the company uses to manufacture its 'blade' servers. The confidential information to which Mr. Papermaster has become privy on his membership of [IBM's 'elite' Integration & Values Team] and employment with the company represents the product of IBM's substantial investment in research and innovation and is critical to IBM's success."

IBM was able to win a court injunction that prohibited Mr. Papermaster from starting at Apple while the litigation was being pursued.

Apple is so far not revealing what kind of settlement it reached with IBM to allow the litigation to end, and to allow Mr. Papermaster to start at Apple. Fortunately, IBM has been a little more forthcoming in its own announcement, listing the restrictions the settlement places on Mr. Papermaster.

From that statement: "IBM and Mr. Papermaster have now agreed on a resolution of the lawsuit under which Mr. Papermaster may not begin employment with Apple until April 24, 2009, six months after leaving IBM, and will remain subject thereafter to all of his contractual and other legal duties to IBM, including the obligation not to use or disclose IBM’s confidential information."

The company also said that Mr. Papermaster will be required to certify that he has fulfilled his legal obligations to IBM in July of 2009, and then again in October of 2009. The settlement also places a judge in charge of the issue. leaving him with "continuing jurisdiction" over the terms of the settlement until October 24th, 2009.

[Update: The article was updated with additional information from IBM about the settlement.]