Hewlett-Packard Co on Wednesday sued a former high-ranking executive who had left to join rival Oracle Corp to stop him from sharing hundreds of documents HP claims he stole from the company.

HP claims Adrian Jones, its former head of enterprise sales for the Asia region, stole documents and e-mails on a USB device which contained proprietary and valuable information about HP's products and customers.

HP said in its lawsuit that it was about to fire Jones in February after an investigation into his relationship with a subordinate and spurious expense claims. Before any action was taken, Jones resigned and joined Oracle shortly after.

In the lawsuit, HP demands the return of all documents and calls for damages to be awarded.

HP and Oracle became intense rivals after Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems pushed it firmly into the server hardware market, in which it previously cooperated with HP. Relations soured last year when ousted HP Chief Executive Mark Hurd joined Oracle. Legal wrangling over Hurd's hiring by Oracle are unresolved.

The case is Hewlett-Packard Co v Adrian M Jones, number 111-CV-198103 in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Richard Chang)