In keeping up with the latest developments of the IBM-Papermaster-Apple legal saga, now comes word via Information Week that Mark Papermaster, the veteran IBM executive trying to defect to Apple, has filed a countersuit against Big Blue, alleging that non-compete clause he signed with IBM is irrelevant because Apple and IBM aren't director competitors. In a nutshell, Papermaster doesn't think IBM has any reason to worry. From his lawsuit (PDF):
Mr. Papermaster has honored and intends to continue to honor his agreement not to disclose any confidential IBM information. Indeed, when Mr. Papermaster accepted the offer at Apple, he signed an Intellectual Property Agreement in which he agreed not to disclose or bring onto Apple property any “confidential, or proprietary, or secret information” of IBM.And even if the two companies were closer competitors, Papermaster says the non-compete agreement is way too broad and the one-year time limitation is unreasonably long, especially in tech time - where a lot can happen in a year. (Click excerpt to enlarge)
Furthermore, even if the agreement really isn't too broad or the time limit isn't too long, the agreement only applies to work in New York state - Big Blue's home turf - and not in Texas, where Papermaster was doing his work for Big Blue, or in California, where Apple is located.
So, to be clear, there are three solid reasons right there why IBM is wrong to try to uphold that agreement and should let Papermaster start working on the iPod and iPhone for Apple ASAP - or so says Papermaster.
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Could it be that the courts think Papermaster has some legitimate arguments. In related news, the courts have ordered IBM to cough up $3 milion for a bond (PDF) to cover any costs or damages Papermaster might suffer if things go his way in the legal battle.