It is common knowledge that California is somewhat of an outlier when it comes to trying to enforce contracts which prohibit employees from competing with their former employer. The recent federal decision in Richmond Technologies, Inc. v. Aumtech Business Solutions, et al., No. 11-CV-02460-LHK, 2011 WL 2607158 (N.D. Cal. July 1, 2011), now provides an argument that non-competes are not automatically void at least where they prohibit a former employee from competing using his former employer’s trade secrets.  This is significant news in California and smart employers ought to be revisiting their agreements — proprietary information, employment and third party agreements alike — to tie non-compete prohibitions directly to the use of trade secrets.

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