Wed, Jan. 21, 2004

No Non-Compete for Competing Computer Expert

CK - Washington.   The Munich district court released yesterday its ruling on the validity of a non-competition agreement barring a programmer engaged by a corporation as an independent contractor from doing the same type of work for competitors, during the term of his engagement and for a year after its termination.

The programmer terminated the agreement and went to work for his former company's client to perform the same type of work. The first company sued him for violating the non-competition agreement, case number 6 O 12790/03.

On December 5, 2003, the court held the non-compete unenforceable for lack of any compensation for the programmer's forebearance of jobs in his field, thus clarifying a requirement under German law for such agreements. The contract impeded unconscionably the programmer's ability to exercize his right to work, Judge Brychcy ruled. The judgment also relies on a comparison of independent contractors with trade representatives for which special E.U. and German rules require compensation upon termination.

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