Can I perform restricted business inside the non-compete area, if the customer is outside the non-compete area?

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Can I perform restricted business inside the non-compete area, if the customer is outside the non-compete area?

I signed a non-compete agreement with an internet marketing firm where I used to work. I live inside the non-compete area but want to know if I can do business with customers who live outside this area.

Asked on July 26, 2010 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since non-competes are contracts, this is a matter of contractual interpretation--what EXACTLY does the noncompete say? If there is any ambiguity to the words, that is often where litigation arises. Since this is an important issue, you should bring the contract to an employment attorney who can review it with you, so you can understand your rights and obligations. Note also that even when enforceable (and noncompetes are usually enforceable), they cannot be too broad in terms of either time period or geographic scope. If overly broad, they are sometimes thrown out entirely, but more often cut back ("blue penciled") to an acceptable level. What is acceptable varies with your industry, how it markets, and your own level or title; this is another matter you should discuss with an attorney. Good luck.


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