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From: Jonathan Kirwan
Subject: Re: Who owns your mind?
References: <3DE526FA.7010908@BOGUS.earthlink.net> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
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NNTP-Posting-Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 06:51:37 GMT
Organization: AT&T Broadband
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 06:51:37 GMT
On Fri, 29 Nov 2002 06:06:17 GMT, "Michael Painter"
>"John Woodgate" wrote in message
>> I read in sci.electronics.design that Mike wrote (in
>> ) about 'Who owns your
>> mind?', on Thu, 28 Nov 2002:
>> >Our attorney assured us they
>> >were all wrong: you are free to sign a contract in which you promise not
>> >work as an engineer. There's nothing illegal about it.
>> Making the contract itself is not illegal; it is illegal to *enforce*
>> it. It's just like the Merchant's 'pound of flesh' - enforcement of such
>> an unreasonable contract was probably illegal even in mediaeval Venice.
>If a contract is legal then there is nothing illegal in taking action to
>Almost every sale of a business will include a covenant not to compete and
>it is usually easy to win, especially if good will is involved.
>The "promising not to work as an engineer" seems nebulous but if it required
>a promise not to work as an engineer in a particular endeavor it might well
I had signed such an agreement and I found it more easily
disposed of than I could have guessed, here in Oregon. The
contract language not only limited my ability to act for another
competing company, but also specifically mentioned the very
company for which I wanted to take up work. So my circumstances
were exactly what you describe above, if not even more to your
point. But the contract was without merit (as I soon discovered
when I pursued it through an attorney) and was handily ignored.
However, this condition probably varies quite a bit from State
to State in the US as well as elsewhere. In Oregon and
California, I understand, it's very difficult to make such a
contract stick for engineering folks unless they are principals
in the company.
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