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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Company, former executive in noncompete dispute

When high-ranking executives walk away from a job in Colorado, they often are bound by noncompete agreements. These contracts attempt to prevent executives from taking trade secrets and other company knowledge to a competitor. One large biotechnology company, Omeros, is engaged in an ongoing legal dispute with its former chief business officer. The company alleges that the executive violated his agreement not to compete with it when he accepted a position with another corporation involved in the development of similar and potentially competitive drugs.

The company took the executive to court in May 2018 in an attempt to block him from taking his new job at the pharmaceutical firm. Omeros alleges that a treatment that the executive’s new employer, EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, is working to develop is a competitor of Omeros’s only drug on the market. The company alleges that the former employee will not be able to work for this firm without violating his noncompete agreement and that his value to the other company lies in his ability to recruit employees and customers from Omeros to EyePoint.

The former executive denies that the two products are competitive and said that he had only agreed to not solicit employees from Omeros to work at EyePoint for one year. Omeros also claims that the executive refused to commit to his contract not to solicit customers and consultants away from the company. Now the former executive has filed a counterclaim, alleging that he was not paid annual bonuses to which he was entitled as an executive at Omeros. He claims that he was defrauded by Omeros during the recruitment process when he signed the noncompete.

When high-level employees are involved, noncompete agreements can be critical in protecting companies dealing with intellectual property and scientific development. A business attorney can help companies develop legally binding noncompete agreements that protect their interests and investments.

Source: Geek Wire, “Biotech company Omeros and former exec battling in court over non-compete deal and bonuses,” Nat Levy, June 22, 2018

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