CNBC Cites Beck Reed Riden LLP’s Noncompete Survey

cnbc-logo A recent article from CNBC relies in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s 50 State Noncompete Survey.

The article focuses on a lawsuit filed by Amazon against one of its former employees who started working for Google. In the lawsut, filed in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, Amazon contends that its former Vice President of Product Marketing for Amazon’s cloud computing business developed and knows the entire confidential Amazon cloud product roadmap for 2020-21.

Ruling in Amazon’s favor, the court reportedly entered a Temporary Restraining Order barring the employee from reviewing and editing speeches for the Google Cloud Next conference.

The MSNBC article cites Beck Reed Riden LLP’s state-by-state analysis of non-compete agreements as follows:

Several technology industry workers have begun sounding off anew about laws permitting non-compete rules.

In general, California courts have refused to enforce non-compete agreements for employees who live in the state, even if they signed the agreements in another state.

***

But companies can exercise various types of non-compete agreements in Washington, Massachusetts, New York and other states, according to a guide maintained by Boston law firm Beck Reed Riden.

The author is Jordan Novet, a technology reporter for CNBC.com.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements and trade secrets in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

The Legal 500 Recommends Beck Reed Riden LLP

Beck Reed Riden LLP has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States 2020, an analysis of law firms based on surveys and interviews of more than 300,000 clients. The firm has been recommended in the category of “Trade secrets (litigation and non-contentious matters).” Only 33 law firms in the United States appear on this list.

Russell Beck was specifically recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2020 editorial.

The following is the independent editorial write up from The Legal 500 on the firm’s ranking:

Beck Reed Riden LLP is a boutique litigation practice based in Boston, recognized by clients for its ‘unparalleled’ expertise in trade secrets litigation. Headed by Russell Beck, the firm advises both Massachusetts-based clients, such as Staples, on a national basis, and also acts for out-of-state clients in trade secrets matters in Massachusetts. Beck is praised by clients as ‘an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law‘, and is also noted for his ‘ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions‘.

Practice head(s):

Russell Beck

Testimonials

‘The Beck Reed Riden attorneys are very responsive to our needs. They are true subject matter experts with respect to non-competition agreements. We rely heavily on this firm for their expertise in this particular area. As a firm, we find that their fees are fair and reasonable for the services provided.’

‘The team at Beck Reed Riden is very “hands on”. They are fully engaged in the matters that we bring to them. Russell Beck and Nicole Daly are excellent attorneys who communicate well with our leadership team while providing outstanding advice and counsel to our company.’

‘When considering law firms, I reached out to state reps working to pass intellectual property law, as well as lawyers I knew, for recommendations. Beck Reed Riden was overwhelming the firm recommended. Upon engaging them it became clear why. Their knowledge of not only intellectual property law, but employment issues in general, was at the core of navigating my legal matter to a successful conclusion. In addition, their immediate attention to all matters and the care and passion they showed me throughout my ordeal went above my highest expectations.’

Key clients

    • Staples
    • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
    • Syneos Health
    • SharkNinja
    • Blue-Grace Logistics
    • Fortive
    • UG2
    • Nuvectra Corp.
    • Intellia Therapeutics
    • Ideal Image

Work highlights

    • Acting as trade secrets counsel to Staples.
    • Acting as counsel to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in ongoing issues.
    • Defended Nuvectra Corporation in litigation against Boston Scienfitic Corporation, related to the alleged theft of trade secrets.
    • Representing Syneos Health in connection with three separate trade secrets cases.
    • Providing counsel to Intellia Therapeutics on trade secrets issues.

Russell Beck is a business, noncompete, and trade secrets litigator, nationally recognized for his trade secrets and noncompete experience. He was invited to the Obama White House to develop guidelines for the proper use of noncompetes and has been cited as an expert on trade secrets and noncompetes by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the White House, the Treasury Department, National Public Radio, PBS, the BBC World News Service, and many others.

The Legal 500 US provides impartial, third-party opinions on leading lawyers and law firms across the country. The Legal 500 relies upon a sophisticated methodology to determine which firms and attorneys are included in its list.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Presenting on Massachusetts Noncompete Law

On May 29, 2020, Russell Beck will give a presentation titled “MA Noncompetes More Than a Year Later: The 60-Minute Lawyer.” The presentation will be livestreamed at noon this Friday by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. 

Registration information and other details about this MCLE program are available here.

As described by the program notes:

It has been over a year since the “new” Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act took effect, and it has already had some very tangible consequences. Several aspects of the law continue, however, to create significant uncertainty. Hear the latest thinking on how to navigate those uncertainties and best advise your clients.

What have the effects been? What updates to the law may be on the horizon?

What practical advice can you give to clients concerning interpreting the laws?

The other speaker for the presentation is Katherine E. Perrelli, Esq., of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Russell and Kate Perrelli will cover several key topics concerning the 2018 Massachusetts Noncompete Law, including following items:

  • Legislative Process (how we got here)
  • Scope of the Statute (what/how it covers and what/who it doesn’t cover)
  • The Basic Standards (reasonableness in time, space, scope) and the Presumptions
  • Consideration
  • Fairness Aspects of the Law (advance notice, right to counsel)
  • Reformation Approach Retained
  • Signature Requirement
  • Venue/ Choice of Law
  • Springing Noncompetes
  • Areas of Confusion (and How to Advise Clients)
  • Consideration
  • Massachusetts Pending Amendments
  • Potential Impact of Federal Legislation

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Nonsolicit Case

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “1st Circuit affirms injunction in non-solicitation case.”

The article covers a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit concerning the enforcement of a non-solicitation agreement against a former sales employee who went to work for a competitor. The court rejected the employee’s argument that the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act applied to the dispute because the restrictive covenant predated the effective date of the law, and the law does not govern non-solicit (as opposed to noncompete) restrictions.

The decision was entered in the case titled NuVasive, Inc. v. Day.  The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reporter Eric T. Berkman.

In the article, Russell Beck is quoted as follows:

Russell Beck, a Boston attorney and leading expert on noncompete law, said the decision was “unsurprisingly disappointing” in terms of providing any new insight into the substance of the new noncompete law.

Still, he said, any 1st Circuit decision in a non-solicitation preliminary injunction case will have important takeaways, and NuVasive is no exception.

For one thing, he said, the decision indicates that in the context of a choice-of-law analysis, the fact that a company is incorporated in Delaware is enough to apply Delaware law to a Massachusetts resident subject to a restrictive covenant.

At the same time, the case involved a non-solicitation agreement in a contract that pre-dated the MNCA’s effective date, Beck said.

“So whether the 1st Circuit’s decision will continue to permit application of another state’s law to noncompetes signed on or after Oct. 1, 2018, remains to be seen,” he said. “I expect the court will apply Massachusetts law notwithstanding any other choice-of-law provision in the agreement.”

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on FTC Regulation of Noncompete Agreements

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s response to the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation whether it should regulate noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “FTC Should Leave Regulation of Noncompetes to States.”

Russell’s response to the FTC’s inquiry can also be found at Fair Competition Law as “FTC Noncompete Workshop – Update on Our Submission.”

The analysis reflects the testimony submitted by 22 lawyers from around the country (including Russell Beck) to the FTC.  In sum, the testimony asserts that

noncompetes have been regulated by the states for over 200 years, and all 50 states have made policy decisions that make sense for their citizens and their economies. In more than 30 of those states, legislatures have recently been reevaluating their law, with different outcomes that balance competing interests in a way that reflects the economic realities of the particular state.

Nevertheless, in no state does the law permit unfettered use of noncompetes, nor has any state banned noncompetes wholesale since 1890. Rather, each of the 47 states permitting noncompetes allows them to be used, to a greater or lesser extent, only as necessary to protect companies from certain types of unfair competition.

Russell and Erika’s article further contends that the FTC should refrain from regulating noncompete agreements, as follows:

The FTC should not use its rulemaking authority to address noncompete clauses. Rather, the states should be left to evaluate and regulate their own economies as they see fit — as they have done for over 200 years. There is no gap to fill. All 50 states have made policy choices — and more than 30 of them have recently or are currently reevaluating those choices, choosing outcomes that make sense for their unique circumstances.

To the extent that the FTC has authority to promulgate a rule and chooses to exercise it, the FTC should be judicious. Before considering any regulatory action, it is important to understand the potential unintended consequences of significant changes in the law, including, for example, significantly increasing the likelihood that trade secrets will be unlawfully taken to a competitor and increasing the volume of more costly trade secret litigation.

The article concludes that,

While the laws are certainly in a state of flux and should remain the purview of the states, any changes should be made only with a proper factual basis — not on misplaced assumptions.

In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate. In December 2019, Law360 also published an article by Russell Beck and Erika Hahn about federal noncompete reform efforts.

____

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

Phone Call to Employer to Enforce Noncompete Agreement Leads to Lawsuit

An employer accused of trying to have its former employee fired from her new job faces a lawsuit for defamation and tortious interference.

In Eaton v. Veterans Inc., Laurel Eaton filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against her former employer, Veterans Inc. In her lawsuit, Ms. Eaton claimed that Veterans called her new employer and asserted that Ms. Eaton’s noncompete agreement with Veterans prevented her employment with the new company.  Ms. Eaton alleged that, during that phone call, Veterans threatened litigation to enforce the noncompete agreement (which Veterans never pursued), and demanded that the new employer fire Ms. Eaton – which it did. Based on these facts, Ms. Eaton claimed that Veterans defamed her and tortiously interfered with her new employment.

In response to Ms. Eaton’s complaint, Veterans moved to dismiss the tortious interference and defamation claims, arguing that its communications to Ms. Eaton’s new employer could not form the basis for liability because they were protected by the litigation privilege, which “extends to communications made preliminary to proposed judicial proceedings if judicial proceedings are contemplated in good faith and under serious consideration.”

On January 16, 2020, the court (Hillman, J.) denied Veterans’ motion to dismiss Ms. Eaton’s complaint. The court accepted as true (as it must at the motion to dismiss stage) Ms. Eaton’s allegations in her Amended Complaint that

(1) Defendant [Veterans] knew or should have known that it lacked any legitimate business reason to enforce the Non-Compete Agreement; (2) Defendant knew or should have known that the Non-Compete Agreement was unenforceable; (3) Defendant knew or should have known that its statements to [the new employer] regarding the enforceability of the Non-Compete Agreement were false; and (4) Defendant made these statements with the malicious intent of getting [Ms. Eaton] fired.

The court concluded that these allegations “create the reasonable inference that Defendant threatened legal action in bad faith and did not seriously consider initiating any judicial proceeding against Plaintiff or” the new employer. Accordingly, the court declined to determine at this early stage whether the litigation privilege applies to Veterans’ statements and denied the motion to dismiss.

The court’s decision highlights a risk of trying to enforce a noncompete agreement. The decision also serves as a reminder that efforts to enforce a noncompete must be tied to legitimate business interests, and that the litigation privilege is not necessarily an impenetrable shield. In light of this decision, practitioners and parties alike should keep in mind the value in analyzing the risks and rewards associated with whether to enforce a noncompete agreement, and how to go about pursuing enforcement.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Chair PLI Noncompete and Restrictive Covenants Program

Russell Beck will be the chairperson of Practising Law Institute’s inaugural program on noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants. The program, which will be held in San Francisco, is titled “Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants 2020: What Every Lawyer, Human Resources Professional, and Key Strategic Decisionmaker Should Know.”

In addition, Hannah T. Joseph will be speaking on a panel with Russell Beck about noncompete agrements at the PLI program. Their panel, titled “Level-Setting Noncompetes from Soup to Nuts,” will provide an overview of the patchwork of noncompete laws across the country, issues surrounding proof of causation and damages in noncompete cases, as well as recent developments in noncompete law.

The program will take place on January 31, 2020, at Practising Law Institute in San Francisco. The program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 PT will also be available online. Complete details are available here.

Speakers at the conference include a wide array of in-house and outside counsel, as well as a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, Noah Joshua Phillips.

According to PLI, the program will help attendees:

  • Understand the basics of noncompete agreements
  • Discover how to use state of the art computer forensics to bolster your case for enforcement, and what it means for the defense
  • Find out advanced practices for seeking and defending against temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and related preliminary orders
  • Learn how to prove causation and damages
  • Get the latest legislative developments regarding noncompete agreements and best practices from practitioners
  • Hear differing perspectives on noncompete policy from in-house counsel, academics, and others
  • Gain insight into judges’ approaches to the practical aspects of enforcing noncompetes

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on Federal Noncompete Reform

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s analysis of the misconceptions underlying various efforts to reform, and even ban, noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Noncompete Misconceptions May Be Inhibiting Reform.”

The full analysis is also available (without subscription) at Fair Competition Law as “Federal Noncompete Initiatives: When you can’t convince the states, ask the feds.

The analysis discusses recent efforts at the federal level to restrict or ban noncompetes, which follows on the heels of several years of legislative efforts across myriad states to modify noncompete laws. Although very few states have enacted laws that ban noncompete agreements outright, recently-filed federal legislation seeks to just that.

According to Russell and Erika’s analysis, much of the push for restrictions or a ban is premised on:

  • The mistaken assumption that Silicon Valley is the epicenter of tech because California bans noncompetes;
  • Recent preliminary, inconclusive and somewhat inconsistent studies, the nuances of which are ignored;
  • The mistaken belief that trade secret laws and nondisclosure agreements provide adequate protections for trade secrets;
  • The mistaken belief that noncompetes prevent employees from using their general skill and knowledge; and
  • The prevalence of abuses in the use and drafting of noncompetes.

As discussed in the article, Russell Beck submitted testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on “Noncompete Agreements and American Workers.”

In his testimony and in the article, Russell made the five following recommendations:

  1. Ban noncompetes for low-wage workers.

As a group, low-wage workers rarely have the level of exposure to trade secrets or depth and breadth of customer relationships that might warrant the enforcement of a noncompete, given the countervailing issues.

  1. Ban noncompetes for medical professionals.

The use of noncompetes for doctors, nurses and other health care providers has received substantial scrutiny in the past few years, with many states changing their noncompete laws to ban such agreements. Given the overwhelming public interest in patients having the ability to select who provides their medical care, exempting medical professionals is certainly a rational policy.

  1. Require employers to provide advance notice if they wish employees to sign a noncompete.

One of the other major criticisms of noncompetes is that they are often sprung on employees the day they show up to work. A simple way to eliminate that problem, while retaining the potential benefits of negotiated noncompetes . . ., is to require advance notice.

  1. Adopt the so-called purple pencil approach for overly broad noncompetes.

That approach is a hybrid of the reformation approach (where courts rewrite overly broad agreements) and the red pencil approach (where courts void an overly broad noncompete in its entirety). Specifically, it requires courts to void an overly broad noncompete unless the language reflects a good faith intent to draft a narrow restriction, in which case the court may reform it

  1. Expressly authorize springing noncompetes.

To the extent that one of the goals is to encourage companies to limit their use of noncompetes generally, employers must have a viable remedy for when employees violate other, less-restrictive, obligations such as nondisclosure agreements and nonsolicitation agreements, misappropriate trade secrets, or breach their fiduciary duties to the company. In Massachusetts, the new noncompete law expressly authorizes courts to do this, essentially by imposing a noncompete.

These recommendations were among those suggested by the Obama administration in its 2016 call to action on noncompetes and adopted by many of the states making changes to their laws in the past few years.

In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate.

____

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn Analyze Noncompete Law in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article analyzing how the “new” Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act deals with the issue of consideration was published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly under the title, “The New Noncompete Law: Compromise Happens.”

The analysis focuses on how the Commonwealth’s noncompete reform law, which went into effect on October 1, 2018, handles the issue of compensating employees for a noncompete that arises after the employee has already started their employment.  The law specifies that such agreements “must be supported by fair and reasonable consideration independent from the continuation of employment,” G.L.c. 149, §24L(b)(ii). This is a requirement that does not exist for a noncompete signed at the start of employment.

For a noncompete entered into at the start of employment, “mutually-agreed upon consideration” is required (or, in the alternative, a garden leave clause).  According to the article,

erika350Reading the two consideration provisions together, the question becomes, if “fair and reasonable consideration” is the standard for consideration for mid-employment noncompetes (when there is a heightened concern for an employee’s leverage), doesn’t that mean that something less than “fair and reasonable consideration” suffices for a noncompete entered at the commencement of employment (when the concern is less pronounced)?

The relative concern giving rise to the requirement of “fair and reasonable consideration” seems to support such a conclusion.

Although the conclusion that something less than “fair and reasonable consideration” is all that is required for a noncompete signed at the start of a new job might seem unfair, that is precisely what the law has always been. Courts do not review the adequacy of consideration, just the fact of it.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

***

But, if that is what the Legislature intended, why include the option of garden leave? The unsatisfactory answer is that inclusion of the garden leave option was a necessary compromise to avoid losing all of the progress that had already been made, including notice requirements, a ban on noncompetes for nonexempt employees, a 12-month durational limit, and, of course, the “fair and reasonable consideration” requirement for employees asked to sign a noncompete mid-employment.

The analysis concludes that the new noncompete law may not change the consideration analysis for noncompetes arising out of the start of a new job:

Thus, a new job and associated compensation and rights may be — as it always has been — sufficient consideration under the new noncompete law.

Time will tell if courts will read greater implications into the inclusion of the garden leave option. Until then, as with many other new laws, we will continue to grapple with some uncertainty, while our clients benefit from the many positive aspects of the new law.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over twenty two years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Russell is the focus of the cover story in this year’s New England Super Lawyers, and he was recently named as one of the Lawyers of the Year for 2018 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

Law360 Publishes Russell Beck’s Analysis of Misconceptions in the Noncompete Debate

Russell Beck‘s analysis of the misconceptions concerning the impacts of noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Misconceptions In The Debate About Noncompetes.”

According to Law360, Russell Beck’s article is one of the “10 Most-Read” employment Law360 articles of 2019.

The analysis focuses on how the mistaken assumption that correlation implies causation has been increasingly informing decisions in the ongoing debate about the effects of noncompetes on the economy.

In particular, the analysis addresses two primary errors: (1) assuming that California’s ban on employee noncompetes is the reason for Silicon Valley’s success; (2) interpreting the developing research on the impacts of noncompetes as establishing that noncompetes are bad for the economy; and (3) failing to understand the unintended consequences of a ban on noncompetes, including, in particular, the elimination of an important tool for the protection of trade secrets.

The analysis ends with a caution to lawmakers considering changes to noncompete laws:

The proper regulation of employee noncompetes is an extremely complicated issue with no silver bullet. If policymakers believe that the prevailing market forces are insufficient to adequately limit the abusive use of noncompetes, legislative action is certainly an appropriate response. But, absent making the affirmative decision to base legislative policy on a visceral antipathy toward noncompetes, policymakers should engage in a critical analysis and avoid the temptation to rush to judgment. In particular, they need to be aware of – and at least consider, if not carefully weigh – the unintended adverse consequences of a policy that would ban noncompetes wholesale. The research into those considerations is, however, even more nascent than the research into the theorized adverse impacts of noncompetes.

In light of this, lawmakers should tread cautiously down any path that leads to the elimination of noncompete agreements. Indeed, the Obama Administration in its Call to Action and every state changing its noncompete laws has so far recognized this as well – and all have taken a tempered, considered approach.

The full analysis is also available (without subscription) at on Fair Competition Law as “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation: The False Comparison of Silicon Valley and Boston’s Route 128.”

____

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

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