Fisher/Unitech v. Computer Aided Technology et al., 13-CV-2090, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 9, 2013)(Tharp)
In this case, Fisher/Unitech sought to enforce a non-compete agreement against a former salesman who had left to join Computer Aided Technology. The Court ultimately determined that Fisher/Unitech had no legitimate business interest to protect, as all of the allegedly confidential information that it sought to protect from disclosure involved training and experience that its salesman had obtained by working at Fisher/Unitech. As this was “generalized knowledge and experience” it was not actual trade secrets, and could not comprise a legitimate business interest.
Interestingly, the Court also pointed out that the non-compete agreement was “clearly overbroad.” In particular, the Court attacked the geographic restriction, which would have included territory that Fisher/Unitech did not compete in, as well as the fact that it covered “generalized knowledge and expertise.” Also interestingly, the Court did not view the fact that the employee in question apparently admitted to misappropriating true trade secrets as a sufficiently bad act to enforce the non-compete.