Russell Beck and Hannah Joseph to Speak at BBA’s IP Year in Review

Russell Beck will be covering trade secrets at the Boston Bar Association’s 17th Annual Intellectual Property Year in Review. The event will be held today, January 26, 2017, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., with a reception to follow. More information is available here.

Among other things, Russell will be updating the legal community on the Defend Trade Secret Act’s first six months, the Ninth Circuit’s approach to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and noncompete developments at the state and national level.

The 17th Annual IP Year in Review is sponsored by the BBA’s Intellectual Property Section and, within that, the IP Law Committee. Hannah T. Joseph, who currently sits as co-chair of the IP Law Committee, helped to coordinate the event alongside her co-chair, the IP Law section co-chairs, and the BBA, and will be presenting speakers at the event.

This year’s panel also includes the following speakers:

  • Lucy D. Lovrien
    • Lucy D. Lovrien, Attorney at Law
  • Julia Huston
    • Foley Hoag LLP
  • Michael Gavin Strapp
    • DLA Piper
  • Howard G. Zaharoff
    • Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC

The panel will cover the following topics:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Trade Secrets and Noncompetes

Beck Reed Riden LLPis 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 and The New York Times have both cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

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

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

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 labor 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.

50 State Noncompete Chart

Beck Reed Riden LLP is pleased to make available its updated 50 state (plus DC) survey chart of noncompete laws. The chart is a summary of employee noncompetition laws and applicable standards throughout the country.

Both the White House and the United States Department of the Treasury have recently relied upon this nationwide study of noncompete laws.

In addition, recent articles in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal feature Beck Reed Riden LLP’s expertise in noncompete and trade secret issues.

The chart covers the following:

  • Whether noncompete agreements are permitted in the state

  • Governing statutory authority, if any

  • Identification of the protectable interests (also known as legitimate interests or legitimate business interests)

  • Applicable standards for enforcement

  • Industries or professions exempt from noncompete agreements

  • Whether the state follows the reformation rule (also known as “judicial modification,” the “rule of reasonableness,” the “reasonable alteration approach,” and the “partial-enforcement” rule), the blue pencil doctrine, or the red pencil doctrine (also known as the “all or nothing” rule)

  • Whether noncompete agreements are enforceable against at-will employees whose employment was terminated without cause

The chart is available for download here.

This version was updated as of November 11, 2016.

Check back for periodic updates or email us at info@beckreed.com, and we will automatically send the latest updates as they become available.

Please note that the chart is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for proper legal research and advice. It is provided for informational purposes only.

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. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience

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 labor 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.

White House Guide on Noncompete Agreements Relies on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s Analysis

Russell BeckThis summer, the White House invited Russell Beck to join a working group there on noncompete agreements. Following that conversation in Washington, D.C., Russell was asked by a United States Senator to join a small advisory discussion concerning potential federal noncompete legislation.

On October 25, 2016, the White House announced a new initiative to spur competition in the labor market. As part of its new initiative, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Reform: A Policymaker’s Guide to State Policies,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis of noncompete agreements.

As the White House explains,

According to survey data, one in five U.S. workers is bound by a non-compete agreement, including 14 percent of workers making less than $40,000 per year. A considerable proportion of non-compete agreements signed by both low- and high-wage workers come at the expense of wage growth, entrepreneurship, and broader economic growth. Researchers have found that states that strictly enforce non-compete agreements have 10 percent lower average wages for middle-aged workers than states that do not. Today, the White House is announcing several new steps to reduce the misuse of non-compete agreements.

In support of the White House’s noncompete initiative, it issued a State-by-State Explainer of Non-Compete Laws. Its purpose is “[t]o educate workers, employers, policymakers and advocates . . . about existing state laws and some of the key issues related to non-compete agreement reform.”

White House’s guide to state laws on noncompete agreements “relies primarily” on the “comprehensive state-by-state” comparison prepared by Beck Reed Riden LLP and a similar study produced by another firm. The White House guide provides a link to Beck Reed Riden LLP’s 50 State Noncompete Chart.

The White House previously cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research in a May 2016 report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses.”

In March 2016, the United States Department of the Treasury  issued a report titled “Non-compete Contracts: Economic Effects and Policy Implications,” which also relied in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research on nocompete agreements.

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPis 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 and The New York Times have both cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

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

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

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 labor 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.

Nicole Daly’s Positive Result Featured in Lawyers Weekly

The August, 1, 2016, edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Nicole Daly and Will Haddad in a story titled “Noncompete rights not dischargeable.”

The story is about a recent decision in a matter pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, titled In re: Carl S. Hurvitz. In that decision, Beck Reed Riden LLP’s attorneys secured a positive result for their client, a creditor who was seeking to enforce certain noncompete and nonsolicitation provisions of a franchise agreement that it entered into with the debtor.

As described by Lawyers Weekly, the court’s decision provides that “a franchisor’s rights to enforce noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements are not claims that a debtor can discharge,” as long as the franchisor “does not alternatively have a right to payment of monetary damages.”

Nicole Daly was quoted in the article as follows:

One of the creditor’s lawyers, Boston’s Nicole Corvini Daly, who worked on the case with her colleague William A. Haddad, said in a written statement that she was pleased with “the clarity” provided by the opinion and the confirmation that the franchisor could pursue injunctive relief in the state court proceeding. She declined to comment further, citing the ongoing proceedings both in the state and federal courts.

The article was written by Lawyers Weekly reporter Kris Olson.

Beck Reed Riden LLPis 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.

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 labor 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 in The Christian Science Monitor on Noncompete Agreements

Russell BeckA recent article in The Christian Science Monitor features Russell Beck in a story titled “States move to keep noncompete agreements from shackling workers to jobs.”

The article discusses efforts by various states to reform noncompete agreements, including legislation pending in the Massachusetts State Legislature that would reform the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements.

The article was written by Christian Science Monitor business editor Schuyler Velasco.

In the story, Russell Beck addresses the use of noncompete agreements as follows:

“Noncompetes serve a legitimate purpose, but like every other tool they can be abused,” says Russell Beck, a partner at the Boston law firm Beck Reed Riden LLP and a leading authority on noncompete litigation.

The story delves into the history of noncompete agreements and quotes Russell on their current uses:

Noncompetes are centuries old. Experts trace the earliest dispute over such a contract back to 1414, when a clothes-dyer’s apprentice in England opened a business in the same town as his former master.

In the present day, noncompetes have typically been used for employees in the upper echelons of industries that rely on trade secrets, institutional knowledge, and longstanding interpersonal relationships – think biomedical research, the tech sector, and certain types of sales, Mr. Beck says. “They’re appropriate for employees that actually pose a risk” to a business being able “to operate upon their exit.” addresses a negative consequence of the extensive use of noncompete clauses as follows:

In recent years, however, noncompetes have prompted criticism and closer scrutiny. First, they are surprisingly ubiquitous: According to a March 2016 report from the Treasury Department, 30 million Americans, or about 18 percent of the US workforce, are covered by noncompete agreements. Second, Beck says, they are limiting workers’ outside careers beyond what many would consider reasonable.

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPis 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. Recently, 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 sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2014 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP specializes in noncompete litigation and is a trade secrets expert. He comes highly recommended by his peers for his nationwide practice in this niche. ‘He’s fantastic,’ sources say.”

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 labor 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.

Houston Chronicle Cites Beck Reed Riden LLP’s Research

A recent column in the Houston Chronicle relies in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s 50 State Noncompete Survey.

The article is titled “Noncompete agreements create modern-day servitude.” The story  blends opinions, facts, and arguments to support the position that non-compete agreements are bad for businesses and the economy. The author is Chris Tomlinson, a columnist who writes about business, energy and economics for the Houston Chronicle.

Houston Chronicle story features the account of Maxie Foster, a former employee of a Massage Envy franchise in Texas. According to the story, when Ms. Foster “got a better-paying job at another massage and beauty store, the owners of the million-dollar franchise launched a legal battle that has left Foster forbidden from working in her field, collecting food stamps and representing herself in a $100,000 lawsuit against corporate lawyers.”

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

Nationally, the number of noncompete lawsuits filed against employees has risen 61 percent between 2002 and 2013, according to the … law firm Beck Reed Riden.

This article also appeared in the Australian Financial Review.

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

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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.

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

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his ‘impeccable credentials,’ in the employment arena, and identify him as an ‘expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.

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 labor 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 on PBS NewsHour

On July 14, 2016, PBS NewsHour featured a televised interview with Russell Beck in a story titled “A national movement against employee noncompete contracts picks up steam.”

The story, reported by Duarte Geraldino, addresses the controversy over the use of noncompete agreements. A central focus of the story is the propriety of noncompete agreements for low-wage workers.

In Russell’s interview, he describes how non-compete agreements can be used to protect trade secrets, like “[r]ecipes for cookies, profit margins, customer lists.” Russell added that “[b]illions of dollars of trade secrets are stolen on an annual basis, and there needs to be some mechanism for protecting them.”

Russell’s interview concludes with a comment that noncompetition agreements are not designed to be used “as a retention tool.”

PBS NewsHour also published a companion article titled “What you should know about noncompete agreements.” The article contains an edited transcript of Russell Beck’s entire interview.

In the article, Russell explains how companies decide whether to enforce noncompete agreements:

Different companies will enforce noncompetes for different reasons. Some will enforce them to protect their trade secrets. Some companies will enforce them to protect what are called other legitimate business interests — the protection of customer relationships that a company has invested in.

When a company comes to me and asks me whether they should enforce their noncompete, I will take a look at the agreement, understand what the facts are and advise them as to whether they should enforce it or shouldn’t enforce it. Oftentimes companies will assume that they are going to move forward with the enforcement of a noncompete, only to find out that really they shouldn’t be moving forward with it for one reason or another. Either the employee doesn’t really pose a risk, or the agreement is just not valid for some other reason.

It really comes down to the particular language of the agreement and the state that you’re in, because the jurisdiction that will control the enforcement of the agreement and may have laws that will make it hard to enforce in one state, whereas in another state it might actually be enforceable.

The full segment can be viewed below:

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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 has featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

In May 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” also 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 sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his ‘impeccable credentials,’ in the employment arena, and identify him as an ‘expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.

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 labor 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.

Wall Street Journal Blog Cites Beck Reed Riden LLP’s Research

Wall Street JournalA recent blog entry from The Wall Street Journal relies in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s 50 State Noncompete Survey.

The article is titled “Why Noncompete Pacts Are Bad for Workers–and the Economy.” The blog entry blends opinions, facts, and arguments to support the position that non-compete agreements are bad for businesses and the economy. The author is Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The Wall Street Journal blog entry cites Beck Reed Riden LLP’s state-by-state analysis of non-compete agreements as follows:

Currently 47 states allow noncompete agreements in most or all circumstances.  As yet only three states bar the deals outright, while only a few more have begun to limit them in some industries, such as technology in Hawaii or health care in New Mexico.

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

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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.

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

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his ‘impeccable credentials,’ in the employment arena, and identify him as an ‘expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.

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 labor 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.

MA Noncompete Agreement Reform Clears First Major Hurdle

State-house.pngOn June 29, 2016, the Massachusetts legislature moved one step closer to reforming noncompete agreements. With 150 votes for the legislation, and no votes against, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed “An Act relative to the judicial enforcement of noncompetition agreements.”

If this noncompete bill becomes law (it’s not there yet—it would still need to be passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor by the end of July for that to happen), then there will be a dramatic shift in the way employers are permitted to use noncompete agreements in Massachusetts.

Significantly, the House of Representatives’ noncompete bill would:

  • Cap the noncompete period to 12 months from the date of termination;

  • Restrict employers from enforcing noncompetes against nonexempt (hourly) workers, student interns, and employees under 18; and

  • Prevent enforcement of noncompete agreements against employees who have been terminated without cause or laid off.

The 12-month cap can be extended for up to two years in the event the employee breaches a fiduciary duty to the employer or if the employee unlawfully takes the employer’s information or property.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.33.00 AMne controversial aspect of the new bill is the so-called “Garden Leave” clause, which would require employers to pay half the salary of employees for the duration of their noncompete period after they leave. But there’s a major caveat to the Garden Leave provision: The bill gives employers the option of providing some “other mutually-agreed upon consideration . . . provided that such consideration is specified in the noncompetition agreement.”

The bill would not affect nonsolicit agreements that bar employees from transacting business with employers’ customers, clients, or vendors. The bill also maintains the status quo for the courts’ ability to modify noncompete agreements by giving judges discretion to reform or otherwise revise a noncompete agreement so as to render it valid and enforceable.

According to the House’s legislation, in order for a noncompete agreement to be valid, new hires must be given prior notice that they will be bound by such an agreement – either with the delivery of the offer of employment or 10 business days before the employee starts work, whichever is earlier. There is also a 10-day notice provision for current employees who are asked to sign new noncompete agreements.

Separate from the noncompete aspects of the bill, if passed, the bill will adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The impact of that is, as a practical matter, limited.

Russell Beck recently spoke on a panel at the Boston Bar Association’s symposium about the Massachusetts non-compete agreement reform legislation. 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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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 andbusiness 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. Recently, 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 sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2014 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP specializes in noncompete litigation and is a trade secrets expert. He comes highly recommended by his peers for his nationwide practice in this niche. ‘He’s fantastic,’ sources say.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging fromFortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor 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 on Noncompete Agreements in Lawyers Weekly

Russell BeckThe June 27, 2016, issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “Action on non-competes eyed before session’s end.”

The article covers the 8th annual Boston Bar Association symposium on non-compete agreements and trade secrets. Russell Beck was a speaker on the panel, which featured “drafters, sponsors, supporters and critics of state bills to reform the use of employee non-compete agreements.”

Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyThe article discusses legislation pending in the Massachusetts State Legislature that would reform the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements. One controversial aspect of the pending legislation is the so-called “Garden Leave” clause, which would require employers to pay half the salary of employees for the duration of their noncompete period after they leave.

In the article, Russell Beck addresses the proposed Garden Leave provision as follows:

One argument against the garden-leave provision, according to Boston attorney Russell Beck, is that the employee has already been compensated for accepting his non-compete, making additional consideration, post-employment, unnecessary or unjust.

It also has been argued that garden leave “would significantly adversely disadvantage small companies, who can’t afford to pay somebody not to work,” he added.

The current legislation also contains a provision that would prevent enforcement of noncompete agreements against employees who have been terminated without cause or laid off. In the article, Russell Beck is quoted as follows on this provision:

However, Beck noted that, as a practical matter, companies typically do not seek to enforce non-competes against such employees, relying instead on non-disclosure or non-solicitation agreements to protect their interests.

Another provision evoking mixed feelings is the proposed elimination of the practice of allowing judges to “red-line” overbroad non-compete agreements. The theory is that it will incentivize companies to tailor their non-compete agreements more narrowly from the outset.

“It moves the needle and makes a company focus more on bringing the language in line with what the law requires,” Beck said, adding that employees gain the “significant benefit” of receiving clear notice about what they are restricted from doing.

Separate from the noncompete aspects of the pending Massachusetts legislation, if passed, the bill will adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The article addresses the uncertainty about the new trade secrets law, with some saying that it would make it harder to obtain triple damages and attorneys’ fees in trade secret misappropriation cases. The article quotes Russell Beck on this topic as follows:

Others are not sure the bar will be raised much, however. For one thing, there are cases on both sides of the issue of whether 93A even applies to a departing employee who misappropriates trade secrets, Beck said.

The controlling authority, the Appeals Court case Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. v. JPS Elastomerics Corp., answers that question in the affirmative. However, Superior Court Business Litigation Session Judge Janet L. Sanders suggested that Specialized Technology was wrongly decided in her decision in The Gillette Company v. Craig Provost et al. late last year.

But presuming that 93A does apply in that context, Beck thinks the same conduct that would have established a valid 93A claim will meet the UTSA’s “willful and malicious” standard.

The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly news reporter Kris Olson.

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.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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. Recently, 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 sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • 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

  • 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 750 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 2014 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP specializes in noncompete litigation and is a trade secrets expert. He comes highly recommended by his peers for his nationwide practice in this niche. ‘He’s fantastic,’ sources say.”

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 labor 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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