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Non-Compete & Restrictive Covenant Litigation

Vinson & Elkins’ employment lawyers are experienced and well-versed in structuring restrictive covenant regimes, providing counsel with respect to non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidential information-related matters, and litigating employee unfair competition matters.

We have earned a strong reputation for our knowledge of choice-of-law principles, offensive and defensive litigation strategies, practical guidance, and familiarity with the many state law principles that national and international employers must consider. In an age of increased employee mobility, these skills can be integral to building and maintaining a business.

We have considerable experience working with private equity sponsors, start-up entities, and mid- and large-cap companies across a range of industries. We counsel clients at the company acquisition and management team investment phase, upon separations from employment, and after the employment relationship ends.

Clients have come to rely on our team to resolve these often fast-paced and complex issues expeditiously and count on our sophisticated knowledge of restrictive covenant regime drafting, negotiation, enforcement, and litigation to protect their investments.

Experience Highlights

  • (Mich. Cir.); (Ga. Super.); (Tex. Dist.) – Obtained temporary restraining orders in Michigan and Georgia and final order in Texas enforcing terms of non-competition agreements for  legal education provider against its primary competitor and prior employees

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Defeated application for temporary restraining order against our clients, an executive and the start-up company with which he was affiliated, and obtained the prompt dismissal of the underlying breach of contract lawsuit after successfully challenging the enforceability of the non-competition clauses at issue

  • Obtained a preliminary injunction, following a three-day trial, which prevented a former Chief Executive Officer from establishing a competing business with his former company, which our client had just bought. Following entry of the injunction, negotiated a favorable settlement which included repayment of the CEO of a substantial portion of the consideration that had been paid for his former company

  • Obtained a temporary restraining order against two former employees that restricted those employees from using our client’s confidential information in the establishment of a competing business. After obtaining the restraining order, negotiated a settlement which extended its terms and required the employees to make restitution of six months’ pay

  • Obtained judgment against a former employee of our client who breached non-competition obligations by establishing a rival marketing business; judgment included court order requiring disgorgement of proceeds obtained in violation of non-competition agreement

  • Defeated motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of a software company in a case that alleged tortious interference with advantageous business relationships and sought to prevent two of our client’s senior employees from engaging in sales efforts that allegedly violated their non-competition obligations

  • Obtained federal bankruptcy court judgment that non-competition agreement was not an executory agreement that could be discharged (and thus disregarded) by a former employee who had entered bankruptcy proceedings

  • Obtained judicial enforcement of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements that former executives had entered with our software industry client

  • Represented an international credit card and banking company in the drafting and enforcement of its employees’ non-competition and non-solicitation covenants throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia

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