By John | November 8, 2008
It looks like the “non-compete” is not enforceable myth is being played out.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 5 (Reuters) – A U.S. District Court judge in New York ordered a newly hired Apple Inc . executive to stop work immediately because he might be violating an agreement with his former employer, IBM
I have been following this case on a lot of legal blogs and it is amazing how many lawyers are so clueless about the law. Furthermore, there are quite a few technologist who have been drinking the “non-competes” are not enforceable Kool-Aid. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have heard “non-competes are not enforceable in California” and that IBM doesn’t compete with Apple. I am no legal genius but, I have one advantage over most of these legal knuckleheads. I have signed many IBM contracts. Here are some of my thoughts:
- IBM legal have been doing this stuff for a long time and they typically don’t create non-enforceable contracts.
- In an IBM contract IBM competes with everyone and everything.
- It doesn’t matter what the law is in California when you sign a contract that agrees that the jurisdiction is in NY.
I am not saying that this whole thing won’t blow over in a few weeks. My guess is that IBM and Apple will settle something behind closed doors (see IBM v Amazon), My only point in this rant is that is very dangerous for anyone, lawyers or technologists, to suggest that non-competes are blanket non enforceable.