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August 5, 2014

Non-Compete Agreements Survive Another Legislative Session

Massachusetts legislators have once again declined to amend Massachusetts law relative to non-competition agreements, which operate to ban employees who sign them from working for competitors after they leave a company. According to the Boston Herald, the final version of a proposed Massachusetts economic development bill will not include language placing limitations on non-compete clauses, as many of those opposed to non-competes had hoped.

The legislation has been hotly debated for years. Most of those in favor of keeping non-compete agreements valid and enforceable are employers and owners of large organizations intent on protecting their business information and intellectual property. Earlier this year, as part of a larger economic development bill, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proposed an outright ban on non-compete agreements. As a compromise, Governor Patrick later suggested that Massachusetts adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a federal act currently in use by 46 states as well as Washington, DC. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act aims to protect employers' intellectual property rights without necessarily limiting employees' ability to change jobs.

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