Littler Employment Content - Restrictive Covenants

A. Intellectual Property

Employers in most industries require employees to sign an agreement that grants the employer ownership of all intellectual property rights for anything the employee creates or invents during his or her employment. Employers typically retain ownership rights of intellectual property that employees create as part of their work duties which are otherwise within the scope of their employment. These types of documents are generally referred to as “Assignment of Inventions Agreements”.

B. Unfair Competition

Employers often expend significant resources and time to create products, marketing strategies, and customer good will that, in the wrong hands, could place them at a significant and serious disadvantage. For example, a former executive who has knowledge of a company’s trade secrets or marketing plan could injure that company significantly by disclosing that information to a competitor. Accordingly, U.S. law allows for certain protections against unfair competition. These restrictions are governed by state law, which varies significantly from state to state.

Further details about unfair competition are provided in Littler’s Start-Up Guide for Foreign Employers in the United States; to request a copy, please contact Susan Woodhouse at

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