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Category Archives: Noncompete Agreements

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Takes Aim at Non-Solicitation Clauses

Posted in Buying, Owning and Selling a Business, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements, Uncategorized

How does a business stop a former employee from poaching the business’ employees after the employee has left employment of the business? Generally, to achieve this goal, employers have entered into a contract with the employee that includes a restriction called a “non-solicitation provision”. In a recent case, The Manitowoc Company, Inc., v. Lanning, the… Continue Reading

Key Employee Non-Competes: Strategies for Enforceability

Posted in Buying, Owning and Selling a Business, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements

For many business owners, retaining key employees is a paramount concern of running their business. Employers often have invested a significant amount of training, heavily rely upon their key employees for revenue and business operations, and, in many cases, the employee is a likely candidate to take over the business. Beyond these reasons, a business owner… Continue Reading

Employment Law Update: Wisconsin Court Invalidates Non-Solicitation Agreement

Posted in Labor & Employment, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements

In the spirit of Labor Day, I thought both employees and business owners in Wisconsin should know about a recent decision on restrictive covenants from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The case is important for you or your business because it affects whether certain employer-employee agreements are actually enforceable. Many Wisconsin employer-employee relationships are governed… Continue Reading

The Secret is Out: Congress Enacts Federal Trade Secret Law to Protect American Businesses

Posted in Business Litigation, Buying, Owning and Selling a Business, Labor & Employment, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements, Operating a Business

A long awaited Federal Law on trade secret misappropriation was signed into effect last month. The new law, titled the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, or “DTSA”, creates a Federal cause of action for businesses who own trade secrets against individuals who have misappropriated the business’ confidential information. The law creates a uniform definition of… Continue Reading

Wisconsin Senate Proposes Change to Non-Compete Law

Posted in Business Litigation, Noncompete Agreements, Operating a Business

The Wisconsin Senate recently passed a bill that would yet again fundamentally change the current state of Labor & Employment law in Wisconsin. The bill still requires Assembly approval and the Governor’s signature. Senate Bill 69 repeals current Wisconsin Statute section 103.465, which governs the enforceability of non-compete agreements in employment contracts. The bill would… Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s Decision on Arbitration of Noncompetes

Posted in Business Litigation, Noncompete Agreements, Other Legal Issues

Noncompetes are generally thought of as unique agreements given the varying way states view the restrictive covenants imposed on employees by such agreements. The U.S. Supreme Court recently clarified that that Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U. S. C. §1 et seq., requires arbitration, not litigation, as the proper dispute resolution method for determining enforceability of… Continue Reading

Ambiguous Noncompetes

Posted in Noncompete Agreements

The general rule in Wisconsin is: (a)  Courts will literally interpret unambiguous contracts; and (b) extrinsic evidence will be used to interpret ambiguous contracts. A recent appellate court decision applied this general rule with respect to noncompete agreements holding that the trial court’s finding that the noncompete was ambiguous was, without additional findings, not enough to find… Continue Reading

Noncompetes within Settlement Agreements

Posted in Noncompete Agreements

Is an employee who enters into a settlement agreement with an employer entitled to the same protections of statutes that place restrictions on how broad a noncompete can be? A recent Virginia opinion says no. See http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7181310524699665420&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

Can I Pay My Competition to Shut Down? (Co-authored with Todd Goodwin)

Posted in Noncompete Agreements, Operating a Business

             In these tough times, lots of businesses have been closing. In fact, for the fist time in our many years of practice, we’re hearing clients tell us that there is not enough business for both them and their direct competition – that if things continue as they are, they will both go out… Continue Reading

Wisconsin Makes Covenants More Employer Friendly

Posted in Business Formation, Business Litigation, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements

  For over 50 years, Wisconsin has been deciding cases related to covenants not to compete in working relationships under Wisconsin Stat. § 103.465. On July 14, 2009, in an opinion authored by Justice Michael J. Gableman, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court changed the way that statute will work, much to the benefit of employers. Here’s what… Continue Reading

An Invalid Restrictive Covenant does not Necessarily Render other Restrictive Covenants Unenforceable

Posted in Business Litigation, News and Recent Decisions, Noncompete Agreements, Operating a Business

In a recent decision, Star Direct, Inc. v. Del Pra  www.wisbar.org/res/sup/2007ap000617.htm the Wisconsin Supreme Court determined that where an employment contract contains restrictive covenants which address separate specific interests of employers, the fact that one of those covenants is overbroad and therefore illegal does not necessarily render other covenants unenforceable. The contract in that case contained provisions… Continue Reading

Further Proof that Noncompete Agreements are Unique

Posted in Business Litigation, Noncompete Agreements

The court battle between IBM and Dell over the employment of former IBM M&A chief David Johnson provides even more evidence that Noncompete Agreements are highly unique contracts that often lead to some highly unique arguments in litgation. It appears Mr. Johnson is arguing that because he “intentionally” signed the noncompete on the wrong line,… Continue Reading