IBM accused its former mergers and acquisitions chief of misusing resources, as part of a lawsuit that seeks to remove him from his new job at rival Dell Inc.
The suit claims the executive, David Johnson, violated a noncompete agreement by moving to Dell and bringing trade secrets with him. Both companies are looking to acquisitions to add technologies that will differentiate their products at a time when global technology spending is slumping.
In a separate document filed on Thursday, Johnson accused International Business Machines Corp of withholding $1.49 million from a retirement plan that he said was due to him upon his departure from the company.
U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Robinson is expected to rule later on Friday on IBM's request to issue a restraining order that could force him to leave his job at Dell.
The technology giant filed the original lawsuit in May after Johnson left for Dell, saying he violated a 2005 noncompete agreement. Johnson, whose lawyer could not be reached for comment on Friday, has maintained that the document is invalid because it was not properly signed.
In an amended complaint on Thursday, IBM said Johnson secretly misused company facilities, resources and personnel to help create a venture capital firm, JSJ Capital Management, to invest in technology companies.
IBM alleged Johnson prepared investor presentations with company resources and used an IBM-funded trip to the Middle East to cultivate potential investors for JSJ.
IBM said there was a grave risk Johnson would disclose the company's proprietary information to its rival Dell.
He misled his superiors about his activities, secretly undertaken on his own behalf, misrepresented the nature and scope of his planned activities at Dell, said IBM's complaint filed in U.S. federal court in White Plains, New York, on Thursday.
Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn said Johnson began work at the company earlier this month, but declined to discuss his job responsibilities or comment on the lawsuit.
Johnson has said in a court filing that he did not have access to confidential information at IBM that would provide a competitive advantage to Dell.
He said that he left IBM because the company broke a promise to consider him for a senior position that it made when it asked him to turn down an offer from another firm in 2001.
Johnson maintains that the noncompete agreement is invalid because he intentionally signed his name in the wrong spot on the document in a bid to win time to work out his differences with his superiors.
I believed that IBM did not consider the noncompete agreement agreed upon or entered because IBM returned to me the one I had signed in the wrong spot unexecuted and asked me to sign a new form, Johnson said in an affidavit.
IBM spokesman Doug Shelton declined to comment on the charges levied by Johnson about the retirement account, saying the court documents speak for themselves.
The case is IBM vs. David Johnson, 09-cv-04826, U.S. States District Court, Southern District of New York.
(Additional reporting by Chakradhar Adusumilli; Editing by Derek Caney)