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California Supreme Court Issues Death Knell To Covenants Not To Compete

MSK Client Alert
October 2008

California Business and Professions Code § 16600 states that "every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void." Although the public policy against restraining one’s ability to work has been embodied in California law since 1872, California and federal courts (interpreting California law) have not uniformly agreed on the scope and extent to which Section 16600 prohibits various types of noncompete restrictions contained in employment agreements.


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