Non compete Agreements are still not OK in Oklahoma

I wrote a few months ago about how Oklahoma law prohibits non compete agreements for former employees and touch on exceptions here.  Yesterday, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals reiterated that any agreement which restricts a former employee’s ability to work in the same field as the former employer is void under Oklahoma law.

The case is Scanline Medical, L.L.C. v. Brooks.  The restrictive agreement in question absolutely prohibited the former employee from “sell[ing] any medical device product competitive with any of the Spinal Concepts [or Orthovita] Products, or in any way [possessing] a financial interest . . . in any business engaged in the distribution, solicitation, promotion or sale of any medical device product competitive with any of the Spinal Concepts [or Orthovita] Products.”

By completely preventing the former employee from working in his “chosen profession” the noncompete agreement violated Oklahoma law and the Court would not enforce it.  Competition is allowed but an employer can protects it confidential and proprietary information with the right agreements in place.

I work with employers and employees to address non compete agreement issues and put reasonable protections in place to protect both sides.  Please feel free to contact me at sjr@shawnjroberts.com if you have any questions.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. I tend to focus on estate planning and business issues. I make a living as an attorney working for Resolution Legal Group in Oklahoma City. I am husband to Amy and the father of Sam and David. We live exactly in the path where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."

4 comments

[…] Non compete Agreements are still not OK in Oklahoma I wrote a few months ago about how Oklahoma law prohibits non compete agreements for former employees and touch on exceptions here.  Yesterday, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals reiterated that any agreement which restricts a former employee’s ability to work in the same field as the former employer is void under Oklahoma law. […]

[…] Non compete Agreements are still not OK in Oklahoma I wrote a few months ago about how Oklahoma law prohibits non compete agreements for former employees and touch on exceptions here.  Yesterday, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals reiterated that any agreement which restricts a former employee’s ability to work in the same field as the former employer is void under Oklahoma law. […]

B. Weathers

I just found this website. I also happen to live in the same town as you. There is a lot of confusion among those of us in the software development industry when it comes to non-compete forms that many (if not all) of us end up signing before coming on-board at companies in Oklahoma. There is a chilling effect that squashes our ability to “build a better mousetrap” or if we moonlight at other jobs. Do you have any suggestions or resources to point this crowd towards when trying to launch a separate but competing business to our current employers? I cannot count the number of times this subject has come up at the various professional association meeting. (INETA/OKCDG/DEFCON405/etc.) Thanks!

shawnjroberts

Thank you for your comment, I appreciate you taking the time! I have encountered this issue quite a bit in working with both software developers and companies that hire developers. I see legitimate interests on both sides and it is a tough issue.

What I do think is clear is that the non-compete restriction is unenforceable in most cases under Oklahoma law.

Again, appreciate your comment. Are you a developer?