Updated at 4:55 p.m. PST with comment from Apple.
A judge has granted IBM's preliminary injunction aimed at preventing former executive Mark Papermaster from reporting for duty as Apple's new iPhone leader.
Apple hired Papermaster as the new head of iPhone and iPod development earlier this month, but IBM sued Papermaster last week claiming he is violating the terms of a noncompete agreement with IBM in accepting the job at Apple. U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Karas ordered Papermaster on Friday to "immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc. until further order of this court," according to a filing made public Friday afternoon.
Papermaster had attempted to claim that since he will be heading up Apple's mobile computing division, his role is not one that conflicts directly with IBM's businesses. But something convinced Judge Karas otherwise, although he declined to elaborate, citing "reasons that will be stated in a forthcoming opinion."
An IBM representative was cheered by the outcome, as you might expect. "We are pleased that Judge Karas agreed to our request for a preliminary injunction. Mr. Papermaster's employment by Apple is a violation of his agreement with IBM against working for a competitor should he leave IBM," the company said in a statement.
Apple likewise remained upbeat. "We will comply with the court's order, but are confident that Mark Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when this dust settles," it said in a statement. A representative for Papermaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Judge Karas scheduled a status conference for November 18th "at which it will discuss, and encourages the parties to discuss beforehand, an expedited schedule for discovery and trial."