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Since Caraeni was working for a competitor, he was not complying with the agreement. Under New Hampshire law, however, employment non competes are only enforced if they are necessary to protect the employer's legitimate business interests, do not impose an undue hardship on the employee and are not contrary to public interest.
The company that filed suit, ANSYS, Inc., could not convince a judge that it would be irreparably harmed if former employee Doru A. Caraeni continued to work for competitor Computational Dynamics North America.
company also asked for monetary damages.
If the one year period is over, ANSYS will have to focus its evidence at trying to prove Caraeni's actual wrong doings in revealing confidential information rather than the potential of him doing so in the future.
Caraeni had worked at ANSYS developing code for software for approximately seven years. In May of this year, he resigned and went to work for its largest competitor, Computational Dynamics. A few months later, ANSYS filed suit against Caraeni and his new employer seeking to enforce the one year non compete agreement. The Omega Seamaster Military Vintage
The decision does not preclude ANSYS from at trial being able to convince the judge that Caraeni has provided confidential or trade secrets to his new employer, yet it is likely that the one year restrictive period will have concluded or will be close to being concluded by that time.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has determined that legitimate interests that may be protected from competition include the employer's trade secrets, confidential information, an employee's special influence over the employer's customers and the employer's development of good will and positive image.
compete pacts not always so cut
While employment non compete agreements should not be entered into lightly, an employee is not always required to strictly comply with such an agreement. A recent New Hampshire Federal Court decision illustrated that point.
the evidence before the court, the judge found it could not deny Caraeni employment with Computational Dynamics North America in the months preceding a full trial.
25, a federal judge denied an employer a preliminary injunction against a former employee based upon a breach of a non compete agreement. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Gmt injunction sought to prevent the employee for working for a competitor while the case was pending trial.
The arguments in that case were focused in on Caraeni's knowledge of trade secrets and confidential information of ANSYS. The judge, in reviewing the evidence, found that ANSYS and Computational Dynamics were clearly competitors, although their products were built on different software platforms.
When Caraeni was hired by ANSYS, he agreed not to disclose any confidential information for one year following the termination of his employment. He agreed not to become an employee, director, consultant, or in any way to engage in or contribute his knowledge to a competitor in North America or within countries where the employer had subsidiary corporations.
The judge did find credible evidence that Computational Dynamics maintains and enforces a strict policy preventing its employees from using confidential and trade secret information from former employers.
The judge, in following the standard of enforcing employment non competes, determined at the preliminary stage that ANSYS was unable to show that non compete provisions would protect its legitimate business interests.
The evidence was conflicting as to whether Caraeni was using confidential information or his own general knowledge of mathematics, physics and computer programming.
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