When a Non-Compete is a Non-Starter

 

by Frank J. Godfrey III

Boilerplate non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements are popular items to download from the Internet. It seems so simple – just download, drop in the names of the members of the agreement, fill in a few more details, and you’re done, right?

Not so fast. These agreements, if needed, can be key tools in protecting your business when an employee leaves, and deserve careful consideration. Issues to explore include:

·      Agreements that are too broad to be enforceable (i.e. insisting that the former employee doesn’t practice their profession for overly long periods of time)

·      Agreements that don’t cover the right things (i.e., neglecting to protect key intellectual property owned by the employer)

If you feel you need key employees to sign a non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreement, you should consider:

·      Which of the intellectual properties, clients, and processes that your company has developed are most deserving of protection

·      How far you’re willing to go to enforce a non-compete

·      Who among your employees must sign one

Finally, each state applies different – and very specific rules – in regards to these documents. If you’ve been relying on boilerplate documents of this kind, or feel you might need to put some in place, it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel to make sure you have agreements that work for you.