Non-compete agreements are in the news nationally, but how can they hold up in California business scenarios? Many small to mid-sized businesses are concerned employees will attempt to take what they’ve learned and ultimately compete against the company. You may have heard horror stories about California Courts and their reticence to enforce non-compete agreements here in San Diego and across Southern California. What is the best strategy to protect yourself?
Non-compete agreements or restrictive covenants have historically been viewed under California law as a restraint of trade. If your company wishes to successfully defend a non-compete agreement you will need the advice, counsel and legal services of the experienced attorneys at the Watkins Firm.
It is important to ensure any restrictive covenant is fairly restricted both in terms of time as well as the geographical context of the agreement. It is absolutely possible to protect your client base and the legitimate business interests of your company. You may establish limitations upon their use of corporate resources including company resources such as computers, laptops, cell phones and other systems which access internal information as well as the internet.
However, the most effective strategy must focus upon the protection of “trade secrets” and the the intellectual property of your business. There are specific steps which must be taken to clearly establish the content and nature of your company’s trade secrets and intellectual property. It must be secured, properly labeled and designated and should be supported as part of employment documents such as the employee handbook and policies and procedures. The goal of any such agreement should be to protect your organization from the misappropriation of trade secrets and use of inside proprietary customer, supplier and business practices knowledge to compete against your business.
While non-compete agreements are in the news it is more important in California to focus on the protection of trade secrets and intellectual property. Want to learn more? We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a free consultation. Ask how our experienced business contract attorneys can work with you to develop an enforceable agreement which protects your interests.