Non Compete Agreements

Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable in Texas?

Contrary to some popular opinion, non-compete agreements are enforceable in Texas.  While Texas courts generally are not eager to restrain competition, non-compete agreements are authorized by statute, and Texas courts will enforce properly drafted and tailored agreements.  Whether you are a business owner in need of a non-compete agreement for key personnel, or if you are an employee wanting to confirm the enforceability of a non-compete agreement, it is important to have an attorney review the language of the non-compete along with the specific circumstances surrounding the agreement in order to advise on enforceability and potential risks.

What are the Requirements for an Enforceable Non-Compete Agreement?

  • It must be ancillary to an otherwise enforceable agreement
    • For example, if it was ancillary to an agreement to provide confidential information as consideration for the non-compete (courts may look at whether confidential information was actually provided).
  • It must be limited in time (i.e. how long the non-compete agreement is in effect)
    • Prohibitions from 1 to 5 years may very likely be found reasonable depending on the specific circumstances.
  • It must be limited in scope (i.e. what work or activity is prohibited)
    • The non-compete should be narrowly tailored to prohibit specific activity performed by the employee.
  • It must be limited in geography
    • This will be considered in the context of each specific case as it pertains to the territory where work is performed.
    • Courts may take a broad approach when considering geographic limitations if the restriction is simply limiting contact with former clients.