Articles Posted in Non-Compete Agreement / Covenant Not to Compete

Published on:

In Silicon Valley, the heart of the technology industry, a company’s greatest asset is its talent. Their brains and the information they have access to are priceless, which is why, for many tech companies, it is imperative for them not to allow their employees to take such invaluable information directly to a competitor. It’s also why Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, is suing Uber and one of Google’s former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

According to Waymo, Anthony Levandowski, who was working on Google’s self-driving vehicle technology, left the company last year after allegedly stealing 14,000 documents containing trade secrets. Levandowski then started his own self-driving truck company, called Otto, which he sold to Uber earlier this year. Levandowski is now working as the head of Uber’s self-driving department, although Uber and Levandowski claim their technology bears no resemblance to Waymo’s self-driving technology. Continue reading

Published on:

As our economy continues to expand all over the country and the globe, it forces us to reconsider some of the ways in which we do business.

For example, when companies started including non-compete agreements in their contracts with their employees, the federal and state governments allowed it – as long as the non-compete agreements met certain requirements. Chief among those requirements were a time limit and a geographical limit. Ideally, non-compete agreements should protect the legitimate business interests of the company (by making sure employees don’t go to a direct competitor with trade secrets), without severely restricting further employment opportunities for the worker.

But as companies continue to grow and expand into national and international markets, their competitors can reasonably be considered to be operating just about everywhere. That’s the case Horizon Health Corp. is making in its lawsuit against Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc. and the individual Acadia employees who were allegedly bound by a non-compete agreement when they were working for Horizon.

The contract prohibited the employees from going to work for another “psychiatric management company,” for one year after termination of their employment with Horizon, but there was no geographic limit to the non-compete agreement. Continue reading

Published on:

There’s no doubt that self-driving cars will be the next big thing in the automobile industry, which is why Google got so upset when a former employee allegedly took trade secrets regarding their self-driving technology to a competitor.

Anthony Levandowski claims he has been working on technology for driverless automobiles since he was in college. He entered a self-driving motorcycle into the Pentagon’s first competition for driverless vehicles in 2004, when he was still a graduate student at the University of California in Berkeley.

In 2007, Levandowski started working for Google on their maps program. When Google gave the go-ahead to start experimenting with self-driving automobiles, Levandowski was one of the first people chosen for the team.

Levandowski left Google early in 2016 to start his own business, a driverless truck company named Otto. That company was bought by Uber, at which point Levandowski became the vice president in charge of Uber’s driverless vehicle project. Continue reading

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Park Ridge and Mt. Prospect and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

The Society for Human Resource Management recently published an interesting article discussing the use of non-compete agreements by businesses throughout the country and a White House paper on the issues raised by non-compete agreements.  The article states in part:

Noncompetes may be unpopular among employees, but they’re becoming more common, according to Michael Elkon, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Atlanta.

As a practical matter, most courts won’t enforce them against lower-level employees, he noted, but their more widespread use is attracting political attention.

The White House paper criticized the growing use of noncompetes, saying that they impact nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers. It cited a 2013 study commissioned by The Wall Street Journalthat found a 61 percent rise from 2002 to 2013 in the number of employees getting sued by former companies for breach of noncompete agreements.

Approximately 14 percent of workers earning less than $40,000 are subject to noncompete clauses, including fast-food employees, warehouse workers and camp counselors, the White House said.

Noncompetes are even prevalent in California, where courts do not enforce them; 19 percent of workers in California report signing a noncompete. Many workers are not aware of the lack of enforcement in California when they sign the agreements, the report noted.

Several states ban noncompete agreements for certain sectors, occupations and time periods. Hawaii banned noncompetes for technology jobs, and New Mexico banned them for health care jobs. Oregon banned noncompete agreements that last longer than 18 months, while Utah has limited them to a year.

Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas do not enforce noncompetes against physicians, the White House report noted.

However, some state courts strike offensive clauses from noncompetes if doing so renders the remaining language enforceable under the state’s law. Meanwhile, other courts, most recently the Nevada Supreme Court, reject this so-called blue penciling of noncompetes.

You can view the full article by clicking here. Continue reading

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

The National Law Review contains a very helpful article on new developments in Illinois non-compete agreement law.  It discusses the requirement to work two years before a non-compete agreement can become enforceable if no other consideration or payment has been provided to enter into the non-compete agreement other than continued employment. The article states in part:

For those who find themselves embroiled in disputes involving non-compete and non-solicitation clauses, cases are often decided on the fundamentals of contract law. Any valid and enforceable contract requires three things. First, there must be an offer manifesting an intent to enter into a contract. Second, that offer must be accepted. Third, the element of consideration requires the parties to incur a detriment—to either do something they are not legally obligated to do or to refrain from doing something they otherwise could.

It is this third element of a contract that is often glossed over by businesses, lawyers, and sometimes even judges. In most contract disputes, Illinois courts do not inquire as to the adequacy of consideration, confirming only that some consideration exists and ending the examination there. But in non-compete cases, consideration can take center stage. Though this area of law is unsettled in Illinois, some measure of predictability as to how a court will assess consideration can be gained by looking at recent key decisions.

Fifield v. Premier Dealer Servs., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327, a 2013 case out of the Illinois First District Court of Appeals, pops up in numerous subsequent court decisions, and therefore warrants a close look. In it, an employee signed a contract preventing him from soliciting any of his employer’s customers or competing with his employer for business for a period of two years following his departure from the company, provided that his departure was not due to his own resignation. Three months later he resigned and went to work for a competitor. He and his new employer argued that the non-solicitation and non-competition provisions were unenforceable because there was not adequate consideration.

You can review the entire article by clicking here. Continue reading

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.