Abuse of Noncompete Agreements Highlighted in Recent News

Employers Under Fire for Using Noncompete Agreements to Depress Wages and Limit Employee Mobility

Always a polarizing topic, the manner in which employers use — and far too often, abuse — noncompete agreements has been making national news lately.

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Posted in Best Practice, Employee Mobility, Law Reform, Non-compete | Leave a comment

Mark Elected to Officer Position of the NH Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section

WLG is pleased to announce that Mark Whitney was recently elected to be the Clerk of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the New Hampshire Bar Association.  Mark has been an active member of the NH Bar since 1995.

Through this leadership position, Mark will work with the other section officers to plan programming for the Labor & Employment section members as well as liaise with the NH Bar Association with regard to section issues and activities.  With over 150 members, the section provides a means for sharing information among those who work as representatives for management, workers, and as neutrals.

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Mark to Present “IP Protection Update for Massachusetts Employers” at MetroWest HRMA (Southborough, MA)

On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, Mark will be presenting on the topic of “IP Protection Update for Massachusetts Employers” at the monthly meeting of the MetroWest Human Resources Management Association.  Continue reading

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Mark Recognized (Again) as SuperLawyer by Thompson Reuters

I am happy to announce that I have been selected by Thompson Reuters as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer.  This is my 11th year in a row to be selected for this recognition (either as a Rising Star® or SuperLawyer® by Thomson Reuters’ SuperLawyer Magazine).

To see the full press release including a description of the peer-review and third-party selection process, click here.

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Massachusetts Noncompete Law Reform Efforts Fall Short, Again

As I have previously reported, the Massachusetts House and Senate recently passed competing versions of noncompete reform bills.  Although the two bills contained many of the same provisions, they also differed in material ways.  See Massachusetts Non-Compete Reform — Current Status; and Mass Senate Passes VERY Restrictive Non-Compete Reform Bill.

Because the two bills were so different, they were in the process of being considered by a 6-person Conference Committee comprised of 3 House members and 3 Senators.  The Conference Committee’s role was to try to reach a comprise between the different bills and to present the proposed compromise bill to both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature.

The deadline to conclude all business for this legislative session passed at midnight, Sunday, July 31, 2016.  As of that time, the Conference Committee did not recommend a compromise bill.  As a result, neither the House nor the Senate were able to vote on any compromise noncompete reform legislation.

It is worth noting that because noncompete reform failed, so too did the effort to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in Massachusetts.  Adoption of the UTSA was one of the several aspects of the competing House and Senate bills upon which both houses agreed.  However, the UTSA died on the vine because it was linked (perhaps unnecessarily) to noncompete reform in the same bill.

This means that there will be no noncompete reform or UTSA legislation for the Governor to consider and potentially sign for the foreseeable future.  The next legislative session beings in January 2017, which is the next time that reform efforts can restart.

Posted in Law Reform, Massachusetts, Non-compete, Trade Secret, Uniform Trade Secrets Act | Leave a comment

Mass Senate Passes VERY Restrictive Non-Compete Reform Bill

On July 14, 2016, the Massachusetts Senate passed its own version of a non-compete reform bill that is MUCH more restrictive than the compromise bill passed unanimously in the House on June 29, 2016. The Senate’s action calls into question whether non-compete reform can be achieved in this legislative session.

Review of current status (as of July 19, 2016):  The House passed its version of a non-compete reform bill on June 29th.  The Senate then passed its own bill on July 14th, which was markedly different from the House version.  The Senate’s bill restricts non-compete agreements much more severely than the House version, and some have argued that it has imperiled the viability of non-compete reform in Massachusetts (at least for this legislative session).  See State House, Senate leaders at odds over noncompete agreements.  Both bills have been sent to a Conference Committee, which will to try to blend the competing versions into one bill that could pass both the House and the Senate. Continue reading

Posted in Law Reform, Massachusetts, Non-compete, Uniform Trade Secrets Act | Leave a comment

Massachusetts Non-Compete Reform — Current Status

The question of whether and how to reform the law governing employer use of non-compete agreements is the subject of hot debate on Beacon Hill.  As the current legislative session rushes to a close, the political maneuvering is intensifying. Continue reading

Posted in Law Reform, Massachusetts, Non-compete | Leave a comment

House Judiciary Committee Approved Trade Secret Bill on 4/20

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Senate adopted the Defend Trade Secrets Act.  (S. 1890)  As a clear indication of the strong bi-partisan support the bill enjoyed, the vote was unanimous (87-0).  Shortly afterwards, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) promised quick action in the House, noting “Protecting the vital proprietary information of U.S. companies is essential to American competitiveness, job creation, and ensuring a robust economy.  I look forward to moving legislation to protect American trade secrets through the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.” Continue reading

Posted in Defend Trade Secrets Act 2015, Law Reform, Trade Secret | Leave a comment

U.S. Senate Unanimously Approved Trade Secret Bill

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Senate adopted the Defend Trade Secrets Act.  As a clear indication of the strong bi-partisan support the bill enjoyed, the vote was unanimous (87-0).

For prior posts which examined the DTSA in more depth, click here and here.

Focus will now shift to the House where a similar bill is pending.  (HR 3326)  The DTSA enjoys similar bi-partisan support in the House, where the bill enjoys 127 co-sponsors from both parties.  House action is not expected in the near future, but this blog will continue to monitor progress of the House bill.

Posted in Defend Trade Secrets Act 2015, Economic Espionage Act, Law Reform, Legal Update, Trade Secret, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recorded Webinar on Restrictive Covenant Strategies Available For Free Download

I recently presented a restrictive covenants strategies seminar entitled “Cutting-Edge Developments in Restrictive Covenants and Other Legal Tools for Protecting Competitive Advantages” live on 3/10/16 and via Webinar on 4/1/16.  If you missed both and are still interested in seeing the presentation, a recording of the webinar is available for free download by clicking here.

You will be asked to register, and will then gain access to the webinar presentation.

If you have any questions, please contact me at mwhitney@morganbrown.com

Posted in Best Practice, Law Reform, Legal Update, Non-compete, Seminars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment