Houston Non-Compete Lawyers
Drafting and Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements in Houston and throughout Texas
In contract law, a non-compete agreement (also called a non-compete clause or covenants not to compete) is a clause under which one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar trade in competition against another party for a reasonable set period of time and geographic area.
In the employer – employee context, non-compete agreements are legal contracts in which an employee agrees, upon termination or resignation, not to work for a competitor, start a competing business, or abuse their employers confidential information or trade secrets, such as customer lists, business practices, and marketing plans. Essentially, non-Compete agreements protect a business’ “goodwill,” or the value of a business that comes from the synergy between its parts and staff.
Employee rights are also protected under non-competes, as only specific and limited clauses are enforceable. No employer has the right to limit an individual’s business indefinitely and generally speaking, non-competes must be reasonable in their restrictions on time, geographic coverage, and the scope of business activity prohibited to be enforceable.
Similar to non-compete considerations for the employer-employee relationship, as part of the sale of a business or merger and acquisition, obtaining an effective non-compete agreement from the seller is by and large a critical component in protecting the buyer’s post-closing business interests. A seller non-compete agreement can help prevent the seller of the business from starting a competing business for a certain period of time after the transaction closes (that is reasonable in duration and geographical scope). A covenant by the seller not to compete is typically included in the purchase and sale agreement of the transaction.
Our Houston business law firm, Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C., works with employers, executives and employees, as well as buyers or sellers of a business, to help effectively draft, review, negotiate, and implement non-compete agreements that are detailed, reasonable in scope and duration, enforceable, and mutually agreeable.
In addition, our business law attorneys can assist clients in defending against non-competes in a wide variety of issues, including:
- Employer breach of contract;
- Overly-broad scope of restrictions; and
- Illegitimate business interests.
For prompt attention to your non-competition concerns, beginning with a confidential consultation, please call our Houston business law firm (713) 909-7323 or complete an online form. We welcome client inquiries and referrals from throughout Houston and the state of Texas.
With 30+ years of experience, our Texas business lawyers have the knowledge and perspective to assist clients by:
- Drafting non-compete agreements and restructuring other contracts to ensure the companies have business-critical protections that are enforceable under Texas law. All non-competes have three dimensions to them: a stipulation on geographic area, on services provided, and how long the covenant lasts. Non-competes need to be specific and limited regarding each stipulation—because again, no employer has the right to limit an individual’s business indefinitely.
- Advising and assisting clients on non-compete, confidentiality, and nondisclosure agreement implementation
Reviewing non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants for prospective employees in need of clear
guidance on their rights and options before signing. Executive-hires in
particular may have many special considerations that may require additional
negotiations and modifications.
For Executive non-compete agreements:
- Employer considerations– Companies often expose their employees to confidential information during the course of their job, which is especially true for high-level managers and executives. We understand the concerns employers may have when it comes to balancing the needs of attracting top-executive level talent and protecting critical company information, particularly in the event that an executive leaves the company. Detailed terms and provisions (which are also reasonable in scope and duration) are critical in establishing what constitutes a violation, such as employment with competitors, customer solicitation, recruitment of former colleagues and theft of trade secrets– and having grounds to enforce such agreements when issues arise.
- Executive considerations - Executives often have concerns of the terms of their agreement, or needs to negotiate the details agreement terms. 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.
- Pursuing legal remedies in non-compete violations, such as the possible need for an injunction to stop improper competitive activity and actions to recover financial damages. If you believe an employee has stolen your intellectual property for their own use and benefit, our Houston business law attorneys can help minimize the damage and prevent the continued use of your valuable intellectual property. We have represented both employers and employees in non-compete violations.
- Defending against non-compete violation claims and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Drafting & Reviewing Physician Non-Compete Agreements:
Physicians and healthcare entities are bound by different non-compete restrictions than other industries. In general, a non-compete must be "reasonable," both in geographic area, scope of practice, and the time that it is enforceable.
For healthcare professionals, this means your non-compete clause must meet the following standards:
- It must allow physicians access to medical records
- It must allow physicians to provide acute care to prior patients
- It must allow the physician to buy out of the agreement if he or she wishes
Good non-competes are in the interest of the physician, the hospital, and the public. A well-drafted agreement will allow a hospital to protect its future security without denying physicians the ability to make a living or denying patients the ability to receive the best-quality care available to them. At Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C., our Houston business law attorneys are highly experienced in drafting, reviewing and negotiating non-compete agreements for physicians, medical professionals and hospitals.
Houston Non-Compete Lawyers – Contact Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C. today!
Like all other legal contracts, non-compete agreements should be entered into with clarity surrounding what they allow and what they prohibit. Companies that use outdated or improperly drafted agreements sometimes suffer severe financial repercussions when they turn out to be unenforceable. Your legal rights may hinge on nuanced aspects of the contract and considerations specific to your industry, as well as how the court views the necessity of specific restrictions for protecting the employer's business interests and goodwill.
At Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C., our Houston business law attorneys offer highly informed, reliable counsel for businesses focused on protecting their proprietary information, strategic plans, and client relationships. Our lawyers are equally adept at reviewing all types of contracts on behalf of individuals whose professional options and futures hang in the balance.
Fair, enforceable contracts offer protections to both parties that enter them, and we are intensely dedicated to ensuring that our clients' interests are protected. Our Houston law firm has been providing proven solutions since 1987! If you have questions about the language of your non-compete agreement, or need to draft or enforce one, call our legal team today to draw from more than two decades of experience.
To schedule a confidential consultation, call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online.