This week, a top Patrick administration official — Gregory Bialecki, Secretary, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development — posted on his office’s blog the Administration’s current views on the noncompete debate in Massachusetts. (Many thanks to Brad MacDougall, of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, for bringing this to my attention.) This is a significant development; until now, the Patrick administration has taken no position on the issue, indicating that it was studying the situation and receiving comments from all sides. The bottom line is this statement at the end of the post:
On balance, we don’t yet see the case to have been sufficiently proven that a change in our existing laws will be a significant improvement to our innovation ecosystem. But we will continue to keep on top of the debate.
Secy. Bialecki made clear that the Administration is on top of the issue, mentioning his awareness of the academic studies and the arguments that have been made on all sides of the issue. He listed seven reasons why the Administration currently is not prepared to side either with those who propose to abolish employee noncompetes altogether and those who back compromise legislation that would curtail and regulate their use. As to the pending legislation, he expressed concern that modifying the current standard might lead to uncertainty and litigation.
Certainly this will ignite further debate and lobbying from all interested parties.