We had a very good, informative discussion about employee non-compete agreements last night at the Harvard Law School. The event was hosted by the Berkman Center along with Spark Captial, Gunderson & Dettmer, Silicon Valley Bank and Highland Capital Partners.
I want to thank everyone who came and a special thanks to John Palfry who is the director of the Berkman Center. John also did a nice job moderating the session.
Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe took some video of me, Paul Maeder from HCP and Rich Miner of Google.
A reporter from PCWorld came to the event has an article posted here. It was a summary of the event but I would like to clarify or disagree with one comment from this article. The writer, Chris Kanaracus states:
Non-compete agreements, which generally seek to prohibit workers who leave a company from taking a job with a competitor for a fixed period of time, don’t necessarily affect new graduates entering their first job, according to a panel consisting of venture capitalists, a Google executive and academics.
First, no one on the panel said that. This notion that non-competes not affecting new grads came from a question from someone in the audience. I disagreed and believe that they do impact new grads. First, most new grads work end up joining an established company and if they join one in MA then they will probably be locked up. If they start their own company then they will need to hire people to help them. And if they are hiring people in MA then they have to deal with potential hires past noncompete agreements. So it really does impact new grads in my view.