Are You Someone Else’s Intellectual Property?

2/27/08Follow @bbuderi

Bijan Sabet is continuing his crusade against non-compete clauses. Sabet, a partner at Boston’s Spark Capital, caused a stir back in December, when he wrote on his blog that Spark would no longer require its portfolio companies to include non-compete clauses in their employee contracts. “The non-compete clause is a significant barrier to startups and innovation,” Sabet wrote. “I believe it significantly hurts business in the state of Massachusetts and other states that have not followed California on this issue.”

Today, Sabet is the author of a guest column on the GigaOm blog entitled, “When Did You Become Someone Else’s Intellectual Property?” It provides a quick, fresh look at his arguments against the non-compete, a movement he is trying to grow through the Alliance for Open Competition, an organization he co-founded that describes itself as “a group of entrepreneurs, investors and executives dedicated to fostering innovation throughout the US.”

As Sabet writes in GigaOm, “Every day, venture capitalists like me see the chilling effect that employer non-compete agreements have on innovation. In dozens of states, the most brilliant contributors are locked out of joining new opportunities in their field of expertise for a year, sometimes even longer.

“Promising startups are dead in the water to investors if there’s a hint of non-compete trouble in the mix. This is not a trivial matter: The vitality of a region’s economy—and ultimately the country—is driven by the ability to bring new ideas to market, faster. Non-competes put the brakes on innovation and job creation, and the effects are felt far beyond the VC community.”

Wade did this in-depth interview with Sabet in December. And you can find his personal blog here.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • John

    Hi I am currently in a non-compete situation. I am just a average blue collar worker with good experience in my field, but under the non-compete I can not go to any competitor to work for them unless they are a 100 miles away from my current employer. My question is “Why should I be held back to make my life better when I am not a officer of my current employer?