covenants not to compete

Under California law, non-compete provisions with an employee are generally unenforceable.  Statutory exceptions to this rule include the seller of a business’s goodwill or a membership interest in an LLC.  Courts have also recognized a judicial exception to this rule: where the non-compete is necessary to protect an employer’s trade secret information.  This judicial exception

Section 16601 of the California Business and Professions Code provides a well-known exception to California’s statutory refusal to enforce contractual commitments not to compete.  Under that section, Courts will enforce “reasonable” restrictions on the seller of a business to engage in competition against the buyer of that business.  This is a commonsense approach: a buyer

Everybody who cares probably knows that, in California, covenants not to compete (agreements that restrain an individual from pursuing a lawful trade of profession) are generally unenforceable.  There are only five “exceptions” to this rule.  I put “exceptions” in quotes because two of them really aren’t exceptions at all. They are independent legal doctrines that

By:       James Kachmar

Readers of this blog will note that we frequently remind them that California law generally prohibits non-compete agreements. There are very limited exceptions to this general rule, one being that the seller of goodwill in a business can be bound by a valid non-compete agreement to protect the goodwill that is being purchased. Sometimes, the buyer of a company will want to continue to employ certain key employees, who can also be the sellers of the goodwill of the former company.   We have seen instances where the purchasing company gets creative and subjects the seller/key employee to two covenants not to compete, one in the purchase agreement and the other in an employment agreement.   Last week, a California appellate court shut the door on this approach in the case Fillpoint, LLC v. Maas.

Continue Reading Another Door Closes on Non-Compete Agreements

California’s prohibition on covenants not to compete is well established.  The statute that reflects this public policy, Business and Professions Code §16600 generally permits such covenants only in narrowly prescribed circumstances.  Those exceptions are all identified by statute at Business and Professions Code §§16601, 16602 and 16602.5.  These exceptions permit covenants not to compete when