Legitimate Business Interests, Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete contracts are enforceable if they are reasonable, meaning they can be “no more restrictive than is necessary to protect the legitimate interest of the employer.” Healthcare Servs. of the Ozarks, Inc. v. Copeland, 198 S.W.3d 604, 610 (Mo. 2006). Therefore, a non-compete contracted must be limited geographically and temporally. Id. What constitutes a “legitimate business interest” worthy of protection and meriting enforcement of a non-compete?
Among other things, a legitimate business interest may include “customer contacts” and “trade secrets.” Customer contacts are defined by the influence an employee acquires over his or her employer’s customers through personal interaction. The court further examines the quality, frequency, and duration of an employee’s exposure to an employer’s customers. A trade secret can be any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.
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