Attorneys Tristram Coffin, Elizabeth Rattigan, and William Clark recently won a trial court decision enforcing a non-compete agreement against a high-level former employee at an international cybersecurity company.
In this case, Plaintiffs invested almost $1.5 billion investment into a next-generation anti-virus company at which the former employee had worked in a high position for several years. Shortly after the company’s purchase, the former employee, who worked remotely in Vermont, joined a direct competitor in the next-generation anti-virus industry in violation of his non-compete agreement.
After hearing two days of testimony and evidence, the Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Unit, entered a preliminary injunction enforcing the non-compete agreement.
The court concluded that Plaintiffs had shown that the non-compete agreement was necessary and reasonable to protect the Plaintiffs’ customer relationships and confidential information from irreparable harm. The court noted that the former employee possessed a deep and intimate knowledge of Plaintiffs’ confidential information and had close relationships with some of Plaintiffs’ largest customers. The court subsequently denied a motion to reconsider and a motion for interlocutory appeal. The Vermont Supreme Court likewise denied Defendants’ motion for interlocutory appeal.
This was an important decision involving a highly technical and competitive industry. The decision demonstrates how Vermont courts will enforce reasonable and necessary non-compete agreements in order to protect employers’ legitimate interests, including their interests in customer relationships, confidential information, and trade secrets.
See BlackBerry Corporation et al. v. Coulter et al., Docket No. 953-10-19 Cncv (Toor, J.) (Apr. 17, 2020)