I.B.M. has sued one of its top executives in an attempt to prevent him from taking a position at Apple.
The company said that the executive, Mark Papermaster, who until last week had been manager in charge of the company’s blade server business, had signed a noncompete agreement with I.B.M. that would prevent him from accepting a job with a competitor until one year after leaving I.B.M.
The company said that Mr. Papermaster had been one of its top 300 managers and that he had access to a wide range of the company’s intellectual property and trade secrets.
Until leaving the company last week, Mr. Papermaster was vice president of I.B.M.’s Blade Development unit, an organization that sells computers for corporate data centers. In the past he has also headed technology development for the company and has played a major role in the design of its Power microprocessors.
Mr. Papermaster has also held other positions at I.B.M. Apple may also be interested in Mr. Papermaster’s processor design expertise. Earlier this year, Apple purchased PA Semi, a small microprocessor design firm that was developing microprocessors based on the I.B.M. Power design. At the time Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, said that Apple would use that expertise to create hardware for its iPhones and iPods.
Who thought there was anyone left at Big Blue worth headhunting?