As Good As It Gets?

Key employees don't always have a non-compete or non-solicit agreement.  You might, however, pay a high price for missing that detail.

Think about HP's predicament after ousting Mark Hurd from its CEO slot.  Hurd turned around and took a senior executive role with Oracle which competes head-to-head with HP.  HP could only sue Hurd for breaching his non-disclosure agreement because he didn't sign a non-compete agreement.  A copy of HP's  is complaint posted on-line.

To win, HP must prove that Hurd has used or inevitably will use its business secrets.  Assume for a second that the lawsuit was in Texas.  Unless Hurd took confidential HP documents with him, that may be a hard sell.

Is that good enough?  We're talking about an ex-CEO who, no doubt, got boatloads of business secrets.  And he's now working for a direct competitor.  According to HP, Hurd had been privy to a top secret report that analyzed HP's competitiveness against Oracle.

It's a different game with a non-compete or non-solicit agreement.  HP would have Hurd in its crosshairs simply by proving that the non-compete was enforceable and reasonable.  At least in Texas, courts have made non-compete and non-solicit agreements far more enforceable since 2006.  That's why many companies insist on them.