As we look at recent developments in noncompete regulatory efforts at the state and federal levels, it’s good to have a quick reminder of how we got here. We’ll take a quick tour of noncompete regulation from the Middle Ages to now.
The updates keep coming, but the information does not — well, at least not quickly. President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy is now available, but references noncompetes in only two quick sentences throughout the 46 pages. Those two sentences provide only a bit more guidance.
This afternoon, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which included pushing for the regulation of noncompetes by the FTC. Based on his comments during today’s press conference (discussed in the post), we expect that any regulation will be balanced, focusing on regulating the abuses, rather than a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater wholesale ban.
President Biden had said that he “will work with Congress to eliminate all non-compete agreements, except the very few that are absolutely necessary to protect a narrowly defined category of trade secrets.” However, he has now announced that he will issue an executive order pushing for the limitation or elimination of noncompetes.