Monday, October 23, 2006

Q: Can you leverage your way out of a Maryland Non-Compete? A: Maybe.

As shown by my posts about non-competes in Maryland, reasonable non-compete agreements are generally enforceable. (Further, even if a non-compete agreement is overbroad, many Maryland Judges believe they have the power to re-write such an agreement to make it enforceable). So, can you get out of them or limit them? Maybe. Just as you and your employee can agree to enter a non-compete; you and your employer can agree to modify a non-compete. The more leverage you have, the more likely you can modify a non-compete to your liking. How can you generate leverage? Here are a few ideas:

  1. It can be a very expensive proposition for an employer and an employee to litigate to determine if a non-compete is really enforceable. You may convince your employer to reduce your non-compete obligations by agreeing not to initiate litigation.
  2. Find out what your employer's real interests are. It may not want you working for its established competitors and may not care if you are working for a start up.
  3. Give a little. Do you have something the employer wants, like money it owes you for severance? You might offer something of value in exchange for a release from any non-compete obligations.

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