IBM is doing everything in its power to stop its former employee, Mark Papermaster, taking up the position he's been offered with Apple.

The computing giant is arguing that Papermaster, who was recruited by Apple to head up its iPhone and iPod division, was bound by a noncompete agreement - which means he can't work for a "competitor" for a year after leaving IBM.

And then a US judge ruled that Papermaster could not work for Apple whilst the lawsuit is rumbling on.

But Papermaster has opted to fight back and has now launched his own lawsuit against IBM.

In a 16-page countersuit, Papermaster argues that Apple and IBM are not significant or major competitors. He writes: "IBM primarily provides business enterprise services, while Apple’s primary business is the design, manufacturing and marketing of consumer electronic products".

Papermaster's lawyers are also arguing that the the controversial clauses in his IBM contract are just too broad.

"The Noncompetition Agreement is also unreasonably broad in that it purports to impose an unreasonably lengthy time limitation", his attorneys added. "In the world of technology, any trade secrets that Mr. Papermaster possesses would lose their value prior to the expiration of a year."

Plus the lawyers are arguing that the non-compete agreement is "governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York", and Papermaster lives in Texas.

"Mr. Papermaster has no substantial relationship to New York, in that he has resided and worked in Texas for the past 17 years, and he is going to work for Apple, which is a California corporation", the suit says. "Mr. Papermaster therefore has the most significant contacts with Texas and California. Both states hold that such noncompetition agreements are unenforceable as a matter of public policy."

Anyone else think this is going to drag on and on...