Former Dell exec now at HP sued over stock options

Dell Inc. is suing a former high-level sales executive to recover more than $780,000 in company stock options he received before going to work for arch rival Hewlett-Packard Co.

The lawsuit involving Round Rock-based Dell and James Merritt highlights the competitive nature of the technology industry while underscoring the intricacies of noncompete agreements required by a growing number of employers.

The suit, which was filed in the Superior Court of the state of Delaware in January, alleges that Merritt, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s enterprise servers and storage and networking sales in Asia Pacific and Japan, engaged in conduct detrimental to Dell.