Court Finds Non-compete Bars Panera Exec from Papa Johns

A federal court in Missouri ruled in August, 2016 that a Panera Executive named Nettles could not work for Papa John’s Pizza because of his non-compete agreement. The case is on-going but the order requires an examination of Nettles’ personal electronic devices and to cease working for Papa John’s.

What is interesting about this opinion is that customers buying pizza aren’t necessarily interested in a salad and sandwich. One might have thought the customer bases were sufficiently different that the non-compete wouldn’t apply. But the court focused on Nettles’ knowledge of Panera’s technology and processes connecting customers and ordering.

This case illustrates a trend of the link between trade secrets and non-compete agreements . Contrary to the urban myth, non-competes in Michigan and Ohio are routinely enforced. And trade secrets are as well.

Read the full Courier-Journal article.

We litigate both types of cases. I just lectured on the interplay between these two areas of law at the State Bar of Michigan Intellectual Property Section.

For more information about this blog post, contact author David Nacht.

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