Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 11/25/2008 01:54:00 PM

Judge Karas: "Inadvertent Disclosure of IBM's Trade Secrets to Apple Is a Risk"

By Todd
ComputerWorld is reporting that the previously sealed opinion of United States District Court Judge Kenneth Karas has been unsealed and that the opinion and order are predicated on the idea that Mark Papermaster could, without any improper intentions, inevitably or inadvertently disclose IBM's trade secrets concerning semiconductors and microprocessors to Apple. We first reported on this case here: http://womblenon-compete.blogspot.com/2008/10/ibm-sues-top-executive-to-stop.html

"The harm to IBM, however, is more likely to derive from inadvertent disclosure of the IBM trade secrets that have defined Mr. Papermaster's long career," wrote Karas. "Put another way, what other base of technical know-how could Mr. Papermaster draw upon to perform his new and important job?

"Thus, while the Court ascribes no ill-will to Mr. Papermaster, the Court finds that the likely inevitability of even inadvertent disclosures is sufficient to establish a real risk of irreparable hard to IBM," he concluded.

The opinion also revealed that IBM did not know Papermaster started working at Apple on Nov. 3 until three days later, at a hearing before Karas.

Judge Karas was not unsympathetic to Papermaster's plight, and told both parties that he intended to run the case on a fast track. "The Court has ordered that an expedited discovery schedule be arranged and that the trial take place as soon as practicable after discovery is completed," he said.

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