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

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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

Senate to Vote on Federal Trade Secret Bill on April 4, 2016

senateAs I previously reported in this blog, the U.S. Senate is considering a bill that will create a uniform standard for trade secret misappropriation claims across the United States.  The bill, called the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, was most recently under review in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The DTSA would add a private right of action for trade secret misappropriation into the existing Economic Espionage Act, with a variety of additional provisions that are explored in my prior post.

Continue reading

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

Encore Webinar 4/1/16 – Cutting-Edge Developments in Restrictive Covenants and Other Legal Tools for Protecting Competitive Advantages

Did you miss Mark’s March 10, 2016 seminar entitled, “Cutting-Edge Developments in Restrictive Covenants and Other Legal Tools for Protecting Competitive Advantages,” presented as part of Morgan, Brown & Joy’s breakfast seminar series?  Due to Workplace-Webinar1demand and to accommodate our out-of-state clients and friends, Mark will be presenting this seminar again, on-line via webinar.  The webinar is free and will be held right at your desk, on your own computer screen, on Friday, April 1st from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Please register for this webinar by clicking here.

Continue reading

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Mass. House Speaker Pushes for Compromise on Noncompete Reform Legislation

In a somewhat surprising shift from his prior position, Mass. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo today told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that he supports implementing specific limitations on noncompete agreements.  This clear support for a compromise from House leadership may signal that this may finally be the year that legislative efforts to reform noncompete law in Massachusetts are realized. Continue reading

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

Mark Quoted in the Boston Business Journal about EMC/Dell Merger

Mark was recently quoted in the Boston Business Journal about the impact of the EMC/Dell acquisition on EMC’s noncompete program.  The article, entitled EMC-Dell deal a wild card in renewed debate over noncompetes can be found here.

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