U.S. judge orders Apple executive to stop work

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. District Court judge in New York ordered a newly hired Apple Inc AAPL.O executive to stop work immediately because he might be violating an agreement with his former employer, IBM IBM.N.

Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains ordered that Mark Papermaster “immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc until further order of this court.”

Apple announced on Tuesday that Papermaster would lead the engineering teams making Apple’s highly successful iPods and iPhones and that he would report directly to Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

Karas said Papermaster could submit any objections to his order by Tuesday and he set another hearing for Nov. 18.

Apple called Papermaster a “seasoned leader” when it announced his hiring. Papermaster had worked for IBM for 25 years.

IBM said in a court filing that, before Papermaster left, he agreed to avoid working for any competitor for a year. And it rejected the idea there were significant differences between the two companies because IBM makes big machines for big business and Apple makes little devices for consumers.

“Electronic devices large and small are powered by the same type of intelligence, the microprocessor,” IBM argued.

Apple had no immediate comment. (Reporting by David Lawsky; additional reporting by Gina Keating in Los Angeles; Editing by Andre Grenon)