This article was originally published in the Boston Bar Association’s Fall 2022 Boston Bar Journal.

Just over four years ago, the Massachusetts legislature finally passed a bill long in the works addressing non-compete agreements and replacing the Commonwealth’s trade secret misappropriation statute with a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the “UTSA”), referred to herein as “MUTSA.” See M. G. L. c. 93, § 42-42G. While the Commonwealth’s “new” non-compete law has received the most attention, the adoption of the UTSA was also notable. Even though Massachusetts is the 49th state to adopt the UTSA, MUTSA differs from other states’ versions of the UTSA. This piece will discuss the differences in pre- and post-MUTSA jurisprudence and what issues may be implicated by the law.

Continue Reading The Massachusetts Trade Secrets Act, Four Years On: What to know

In the sixth installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Dawn Mertineit and Robyn Marsh discussed tips and best practices for multijurisdictional businesses when it comes to restrictive covenants, including non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

As a conclusion to this webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:

  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to prepare a restrictive covenants
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! How Multijurisdictional Businesses Should Approach Non-Competes

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In the sixth installment in the 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys will discuss tips and best practices for multijurisdictional businesses when it comes to restrictive covenants, including non-compete and
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! How Multijurisdictional Businesses Should Approach Non-Competes

intellectual property owners association conferenceOn September 18-20, Seyfarth partners Dawn Mertineit, Eric Barton, and Robert Milligan will be attending the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. This event offers over two dozen education sessions, networking opportunities, committee meetings, and more.

During the event, Dawn will be speaking on a panel called “Hold on to Your Trade Secrets: The Winds of Change
Continue Reading Seyfarth Attorneys to Attend and Speak at IPO Annual Meeting

aesthetician non-compete lawsuitA Superior Court in Massachusetts has allowed an aesthetician’s lawsuit to proceed against her former employer after it sought to enforce her allegedly void restrictive covenant.

After being terminated by defendant Vanity Lab, the plaintiff and aesthetician Tori Macaroco established her own business providing aesthetician services. Macaroco then received a cease-and-desist letter from a New York law firm, citing the contract she signed as a Vanity Lab employee that contained various restrictive covenants preventing her from “solicit[ing] any employees or patients/customers of Vanity Lab, attempt[ing] to persuade any customer, patient, or employee from leaving Vanity Lab’s services, or reveal[ing] any of Vanity Lab’s confidential information.” The letter also stated that Macaroco was prohibited from practicing as an aesthetician for one year following the end of her employment with Vanity Lab. The letter further advised Macaroco that Vanity Lab would take legal action to enforce its rights in the event of a breach of her contract.
Continue Reading Aesthetician’s Proactive Suit Puts a Wrinkle in Spa’s Attempts to Mar Her Reputation

Nearly five years ago, the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNAA”, also sometimes abbreviated as the “MNCA”) went into effect. That statute ushered in new requirements for non-competes in the Bay State (including not only residents of Massachusetts, but also those who are merely employed in Massachusetts). Among the MNAA’s requirements is a forum selection provision that purports to require civil suits related to non-competes to be brought exclusively in the county in which the employee resides, or if both parties agree, in Suffolk county in Massachusetts.

Despite being in effect for nearly a half-decade, there have been relatively few published cases interpreting the MNAA (see here and here for a synopsis of a couple of those cases). Recently, however, a federal judge in Virginia weighed in on the statute’s forum requirement, determining that a suit against a Massachusetts employee could proceed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than be dismissed and re-filed in Massachusetts.
Continue Reading Massachusetts’ “Provincial” Forum Selection Requirement May Not Trump Reasonable Foreign Forum Selection Clause

The 2022 edition of The Legal 500 United States recommends Seyfarth Shaw’s Trade Secrets group as one of the best in the country. Nationally, for the seventh consecutive year, our Trade Secrets practice earned Top Tier.

Based on feedback from corporate counsel, Seyfarth partners Michael Wexler, Robert Milligan, and Kate Perrelli are ranked in the editorial’s “Leading Lawyers,” Joshua Salinas
Continue Reading Seyfarth’s Trade Secrets Group Earns Top Tier Ranking from Legal 500 for Seventh Consecutive Year

Recently, we wrote about New Hampshire’s attempts to piggyback on Massachusetts’ material change doctrine. In this post, we’re taking a look at Connecticut’s latest legislative effort to limit non-competes—House Bill 5249.

In many ways, HB 5249 borrows from Massachusetts’ 2018 bill (although unlike the New Hampshire bill, it doesn’t tackle the material change doctrine). For example, like the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act, the law would limit non-competes to a geographic area commensurate with where the employee works during the last 2 years of their employment, and to the kinds of work the employee performs during those 2 years. The duration of a non-compete would typically be limited to no longer than one year like under Massachusetts law, except that the Connecticut bill would permit a covenant of up to two years where the employer pays the employee’s base salary and benefits.
Continue Reading It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again—Connecticut Borrows Heavily from Massachusetts Law in Proposed Non-Compete Legislation

Nowadays, it seems like non-compete legislation is being passed at a breakneck speed. We saw numerous new laws on the books in the last year, and dozens more are being considered in various states. Many citizens are in favor of tamping down on non-competes, and a fair number of practitioners (including many on the Seyfarth team!) agree that certain rules regarding restrictive covenants are reasonable and appropriate, including limitations on non-competes for low-wage workers and rules requiring some advance notice to incoming employees being asked to sign restrictive covenants. But some in the business community seem to be saying: not so fast.

Most recently, the New Hampshire legislature is debating a new bill introduced in January that, as originally drafted, would have invalidated non-competes if an employer required vaccination as a condition of employment and an employee refused to comply with the vaccine mandate. Introduced by a number of Republican representatives, this proposed law was an unsurprising reaction to the Biden administration’s vaccination push. While some in the business community weren’t happy with that proposed new law, they were willing to accept itbut are extremely unhappy with an amended and substantially broadened version of the bill that passed the House of Representatives just a few weeks ago. The amended bill would invalidate non-competes if an employer “makes any material change in the terms of employment,” perhaps a surprising move for Republican legislators, who are often pro-enforcement of restrictive covenants. This appears to be a clear nod to Massachusetts’ common law “material change” jurisprudence, a one-of-its-kind doctrine (at least for now) that requires employers to issue new agreements upon a material change in an individual’s employment—whether that be a promotion, demotion, change in compensation, change in responsibilities, or any other material change in the employee’s working conditions.
Continue Reading New Hampshire Looks to Jump on the “Material Change” Bandwagon—and Employers Are Pushing Back

restricive-covenenat-legislation-trendsOver the past 10–15 years, we have seen an explosion of legislative activity related to restrictive covenants. This activity is happening not only in state legislatures but on the federal level as well. While each proposal is different, we’ve certainly seen trends emerge, including required notice provisions, fee shifting, and choice of law and venue requirements.

One of the most prevalent trends is the move towards banning non-competes (and sometimes, other restrictive covenants) for so-called “low-wage workers.” To date, 10 states have implemented a low-wage ban of sorts: Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.[1]
Continue Reading More States Eye Low-Wage Non-Compete Bans