Houston Non-Compete Lawyers
Drafting & Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements in Texas
To protect your business or practice from unfair competition, you need a comprehensive noncompete agreement that covers all the bases. Our Houston-based business law firm, Hendershot Cowart P.C., works with employers, executives, employees, and independent contractors – as well as buyers or sellers of a business – to draft, review, negotiate, and implement non-compete agreements that are detailed, enforceable, and mutually agreeable.
In addition, our business law attorneys routinely defend or pursue claims that a non-compete agreement has been violated.
For prompt attention to your non-compete agreement concerns, beginning with a confidential consultation, please call our business law firm at (713) 909-7323 or complete an online form. We welcome client inquiries and referrals from Houston and throughout the state of Texas.
Here's What our Experienced Non-Compete Contract Attorneys Can Do for You:
- Draft non-compete agreements and restructure other contracts to ensure you have enforceable, business-critical protections in place. All Texas non-competes need to be specific and limited regarding geographical area, scope of activity, and period of time because no employer has the right to limit an individual’s business indefinitely; doing so would likely make the agreement unenforceable.
- Enforce non-compete agreements using all available legal remedies. If you believe a current or former employee has stolen your proprietary, confidential information or has improperly joined a competitor or client, our Houston non-compete law attorneys can help minimize the damage and prevent misappropriation of intellectual property.
- Defend against non-compete violation claims and misappropriation of trade secrets using the best available defenses, including employer breach of contract, an overly broad scope of restrictions making the agreement not enforceable, or illegitimate business interests. We have represented both employers and employees in non-compete violation claims.
- Have you been asked to sign a non-compete? We review and negotiate agreements and other restrictive covenants for prospective employees in need of clear guidance on their rights and options before signing an employment contract, especially with a non compete clause. No employer has the right to contractually prohibit an individual’s business indefinitely; non-competes must be reasonable in their restrictions to be enforceable. Executives may have many special considerations that require additional negotiations and modifications.
What Makes a Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable in Texas?
Depending on the work you do and the information your company processes, your business has the potential to live and die by the strength of your non-compete agreements. But not every non-compete agreement is created equal.
To be enforceable in Texas, a non-compete agreement must:
- Be ancillary to an otherwise enforceable agreement, such as an employment agreement
- Be reasonable in scope of activity
- Be reasonable in geographic area
- Be reasonable in duration / time limits
If a court deems any of these elements to be broader than necessary to protect the interests of the business, the court can reform or nullify the agreement. The attorneys of Hendershot Cowart P.C. can advise you on reasonable limitations for your specific industry. We can also identify which elements can be challenged should you seek to get out of a non-compete agreement.
What happens if an employee is fired or laid off? Even if an employee is terminated – regardless of the reason – the non-compete agreement is still enforceable in Texas, assuming it is reasonable in scope and duration, and meets other criteria.
How Do You Enforce a Non-Compete Agreement in Texas?
A common method of seeking relief in the face of competitive harm or employee restriction in non-compete disputes is to seek a temporary injunction (TI) or temporary restraining order (TRO). This will allow the injured party time to construct a defense and also stops the potentially injurious activity – that's why it is critical to act quickly. Constructing a thorough defense can involve gathering evidence, witness testimony, and relevant documentation.
To obtain an order it must be shown that damages will occur unless the TI or TRO is granted by the court. While “irreparable injury” typically refers to that which cannot be compensated for or measured against a specific standard, precise interpretations can vary from court to court. Considering the speed that businesses move in our technological age, if you are involved in a dispute (or believe that one is on the horizon), there is no time to waste.
In order to secure a temporary injunction in Texas, an applicant must show that:
- A cause of action occurred
- The petitioner has a right to the relief
- There exists a probably, imminent, and irreparable potential for damages
- There is no other adequate remedy at law
Damages in these cases can take many forms. For example, in a misappropriation case, a party may be able to recover profits from the use of trade secrets, the value an investor may have paid for the information, as well as potential royalties.
What Should Executives Consider Prior to Signing a Non-Compete Agreement?
Executives often have greater leverage in negotiating their terms than other employees due to their position and value to a company. Because they also impact one’s professional options in the future, executives should work with attorneys to thoroughly review the terms and conditions, and negotiate modifications when necessary. From the viewpoint of a senior executive, preserving future and post-employment opportunities are of the greatest concern.
We help executives review their non-compete agreements with a focus on how the agreement may impact professional options in the future or create exposure to future limitations or violations. Our business legal team has decades of experience facilitating these mutually agreeable negotiations and modifications of executive non-compete agreements.
Special Considerations for Texas Physician Non-Compete Agreements
Because physician non-compete agreements can impact doctor-patient relationships, Texas law has special requirements above and beyond the elements of an executive non-compete agreement.
Specifically, physician non-competes must allow doctors:
- Access to a list of patients treated within the year preceding the separation from the practice
- Reasonable access, upon patient consent, to relevant medical records
- To provide for patients who need acute care even after the contract or employment has been terminated
- To buy out of their agreement, if they choose, at a reasonable price, or, upon mutual consent, for a price set by a neutral third party
With a thriving practice in both business law and health care law, Hendershot Cowart P.C. is uniquely suited to draft, negotiate, and review non-compete agreements for physicians, medical professionals, and hospitals practicing in Texas.
Your Texas Non-Compete Law Firm – Contact Hendershot Cowart P.C. Today
Like all legal contracts, a non-compete agreement (also known as a covenant not to compete) should be entered into with clarity. Companies that use outdated templates or improperly drafted agreements can suffer severe financial repercussions should those agreements turn out to be unenforceable.
Our law firm has been reviewing, drafting, and enforcing non-compete and non-disclosure agreements since 1987. If you have questions about the language of your employment agreement, or need to draft or enforce a noncompete clause, call our legal team today and draw from decades of experience with non-competition agreements.
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