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Mark Papermaster has been ordered by a US District Court judge in New York to stop work immediately in his new role at Apple as he could be violating an agreement with his former employer, IBM.

Papermaster, who replaced Tony Fadell as the new boss of Apple’s iPod and iPhone division last week, was told by Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas on Friday that he should “immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc until further order of this court.”

According to Reuters, an Apple spokesman said the company would “comply with the court’s order but are [sic] confident that Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when the dust settles.”

Meanwhile, Karas told Big Blue veteran Papermaster he could put forward any objections to his order by tomorrow. Another hearing is set for 18 November.

IBM claimed that Papermaster, who was at the firm for 26 years, agreed not to join any rival outfit for a year after he left the tech giant.

On 22 October IBM filed a so-called “non-compete” lawsuit against its ex-employee alleging that as a key designer and executive Papermaster was “privy to a whole host of trade secrets and confidences” used by Big Blue to design products.

Papermaster’s lawyers described the Apple gig as a “once-in-a-lifetime ‘dream job’”, while the man at the centre of the row argued that there were significant differences between the two firms and the tech gear they produce.

IBM hit out at that claim by arguing that: "Electronic devices large and small are powered by the same type of intelligence, the microprocessor." ®

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